Mochi Ice Cream Co. is adjusting its product line to accommodate coronavirus-induced social norms.
The Vernon-based maker of ice cream wrapped in a dough-like mochi rice cake has introduced single-serve portions of the popular dessert, which is usually sold in packs of six.
While the idea for the single serve My/Mo Mochi ice cream predates the pandemic — and there is no evidence of food packaging being associated with the transmission of Covid-19 according to the Food and Drug Administration, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — the new packaging discourages sharing.
Also, with no leftovers to store, it reduces the chances of contamination.
“Today’s consumer is exceptionally aware of the issues surrounding food safety and food waste,” Chief Marketing Officer Russell Barnett said in a statement. “Not only will the new individual packs give (My/Mo Mochi Ice Cream) a longer shelf life and reduce waste, but it will improve hygienic standards by eliminating the open exposure of the mochi to consumers. This is an important consideration during a time when food safety is top of mind.”
In addition to six-packs, many grocery stores sold loose, unpackaged My/Mo Mochi Ice Cream balls from self-serve freezers. They will be replaced by new single-serve packs.
The company also recently launched banana chocolate cream and orange vanilla flavors, as well as a nondairy, vegan Neapolitan version.
The product line updates follow a change in ownership. The company was acquired by Michigan-based Lakeview Capital Inc. in January.
Mochi Ice Cream Co. dates to 1910, when Ryuzaburo Hashimoto started the business as Mikawaya, a pastry shop in Little Tokyo. His great-niece, Frances Hashimoto, took the reins in 1970, and her husband Joel Friedman served as president and chief executive after she died in 2012. When El Segundo-based Century Park Capital Partners bought the company in 2015, it rebranded the business as Mochi Ice Cream Co. and expanded distribution “to more than 20,000 grocery, club and food service locations nationwide.
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