by Carla Occaso
MONTPELIER — ‘Brio Loves You Back.’ That is their motto.
What is it?
It is a frozen dairy dessert created by brothers Ron and Arnie Koss — who became famous in the 1980s for their other brainchild: “Earth’s Best” baby food. This product inspired part of the plot for the 1987 movie “Baby Boom” starring Diane Keaton.
Ron Koss visited The Bridge offices this spring to introduce his product by way of description and taste test. Flavors include Vanilla Caramel, Very Strawberry, Dark Chocolate, Madagascar Vanilla Cafe Latte and Tropical Mango.
Koss said the selling points for this item is that it is lower in calories and higher in protein than typical ice cream. In addition, it has 10 to 30 percent less sugar. It is “naturally sweetened with a patented balanced blend of sweeteners that together make Brio low glycemic.” Sweeteners include organic agave nectar, a non-genetically modified organism natural fructose from sugar cane and organic dehydrated cane syrup. There is no high fructose corn syrup, stevia, monk fruit nor sugar alcohols. Each serving has between 160 and 170 calories.
Brio can be found on shelves at Healthy Living in Burlington, Natural Provisions in Williston and Harvest Moon in Essex Junction. The item is not currently being stocked at Hunger Mountain Coop. The Bridge called to find out about whether it was available at the coop and grocery manager Leo Ormiston said that whether a product is sold in the co-op depends largely on two factors: first, where is it made? And secondly, is there customer demand? Brio is manufactured in North Carolina, according to Koss, because the company couldn’t find a facility in Vermont large enough to manufacture it in a cost-effective way.
But that doesn’t mean Hunger Mountain Coop will never stock it.
“The way we pick up products is the more customer requests we get, the more we pick up products,” Ormiston said. If a group of five to 10 people formally request the product, that could be enough for the store to give it a try. It can also be purchased online, according to the website briolovesyouback.com. The item was launched in January by parent company Nutripcopia, which is based in Montpelier and Hawaii, where Ron’s twin brother, Arnie lives.
The story of the Koss brothers adventures in organic baby food manufacturing may be found in the book they co-wrote six years ago. “The Earth’s Best Story: A Bittersweet Tale of Twin Brothers Who Sparked an Organic Revolution.” The book “tells how Ron and Arnie Koss succeeded in creating the first nationally distributed organic foods company to sit next to its mainstream competition on supermarket shelves — a step that revolutionized and empowered the organic — foods movement as a whole-and benefited hundreds of farmers,” according to information for the book on the amazon.com website.
And now they are looking to revolutionize the ice cream industry by making an American favorite food both good and good for you.
“There is nothing like Brio in the ice cream aisle,” said Ron Koss, co-inventor of the treat. “Brio is a new way of looking at ice cream.”
The website is: http://briolovesyouback.com/