Dreyer’s was formed in 1928 when William Dreyer and Joseph Edy became partners in business. The company was originally named Edy’s Grand Ice Cream and was based in Northern California. In 1947 however, Edy’s and Dreyer’s partnership ended and the company’s name was changed to Dreyer’s Grand in 1953.
In 1981, when the company was expanding its operations, it changed its name back to Edy’s Grand in order to avoid confusion with an already existing company that was named Breyers. This is the main reason why Breyer’s sells its product under the label Edy’s in the areas of Midwestern and Eastern United States.
Still in 1981, Dreyer’s became a public company and traded its shares on NASDAQ under the symbol DRYR. The company also started using vanilla for its ice cream products. This vanilla is supplied to Dreyer’s by Cook Flavoring Co.
In June 2002, food industry giant Nestlé was able to acquire 67% of the company’s shares. Then, in January of 2006, Nestlé took complete ownership of Dreyer’s. When Nestlé took over, Dreyer’s became the largest ice cream worldwide and has gotten its own brand of ice cream. Dreyer’s was also able to acquire the ice cream brand Snelgrove’s in addition to its own brands.
In 2004, Dreyer’s started to use low-temperature extrusion, which is a new churning process that allows the ice cream not to be frozen after churning. The resulting ice cream product for this process is called “slow churned” and is promoted as an ice cream that only has 33% of the calories and 50% of the fat that is contained in a regular ice cream. This slow-churned ice cream is healthier because as it does not need to be frozen, there is also no need to add additional milk fat to counter the grainy texture that freezing the ice cream creates. Aside from slow-churned ice cream sold under its own brand, Dreyer’s has also applied this process to other brands like Häagen-Dazs.
In 2006, Dreyer’s ice cream manufacturing facility in Maryland underwent an expansion, making it one of the biggest ice cream facilities in the country. In May of 2008, in an effort to cut costs, Dreyer’s downsized its quart container from 1.75 qt. to 1.5 qt. For the same reason, since 2008, a majority of Dreyer’s ice cream have been reformulated to contain skim milk or a cheaper whey instead of milk and cream (which are still present in smaller quantities). The products produced under this reformulation are not called ice cream but rather a frozen dairy dessert.
Headquarters: Oakland, California
Ownership Type: a subsidiary company of Nestlé
No. of Employees: about 10,000 (as of 2008)
Demography: frozen yogurt and ice cream consumers