Sweet, creamy, and delicious, whipped cream topping is experiencing an explosion in popularity. Long confined to holiday desserts and ice-cream sundaes, the dairy condiment has now become a staple in consumers’ fridges, sprayed and scooped on top of a range of everyday foods such as waffles, fruit, and hot and cold beverages.
According to a report from Grand View Research, in 2018, the global whipping cream market was valued at $5.98 billion; from 2019 to 2025, it’s expected to grow at a CAGR of 8.1%. Says Grand View, drivers of this eruption of interest in the fluffy cream confection include its low fat and calorie content—just 15 to 20 calories per serving for the aerosol-packaged version—which appeals to today’s dieters and health conscious consumers, and the rising number of food bloggers, videos, and posts about various possible ways to use whipping cream.
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Despite the product’s versatility and diet-friendly ingredients however, sisters Tracy Luckow and Lori Gitomer found the category lacking in innovation. Reads the website for the new company, co-founded by the sisters, who are known as the “Whipped Queens,” “As the world around them modernized and changed, Lori’s favorite nighttime dessert—whipped cream—stayed exactly the same. They knew there had to be a better alternative; a healthier, more exciting whipped cream that would flip the industry on their cans.”
Thus was born Whipnotic, a category-disrupting new product that uses a patented aerosol-can nozzle technology to swirl all-natural fruit juices and flavor essences into the whipped cream topping as it’s dispensed. To create this multi-sensorial dessert, the consumer need only press a button—easy peasy. Less straightforward, however, was the task of engineering the technology behind the experience.
Flavor pod takes two years to develop
Whipnotic was launched in two varieties—Strawberry Swirl and Vanilla Salted Caramel—on the East Coast in summer 2022, right before the 4th of July holiday, a key selling time for whipped cream, Gitomer shares. Described as an homage to classic strawberry shortcake, Strawberry Swirl consists of ripened strawberries swirled into vanilla-flavored cream, “perfect on its own or for dipping with fruit, for use on a sponge cake, or for piling high on a milkshake.” Vanilla Salted Caramel uses natural flavorings and is said to be “delicious on its own, for topping an ice cream sundae, or for use when pretending to be a high-class coffee barista.”
In addition to the new swirl aspect, the pasteurized Grade A dairy whipped topping was also developed to be a healthy and clean dessert. The product is free of gluten, artificial flavors, artificial colors, artificial sweeteners, and corn syrup. Copy on the front of the can also highlights that the naturally low-sugar cream product is also keto friendly. Each two-tablespoon serving contains 15 calories, 1.5 g of fat, 1 g of total sugars, and 0 mg sodium.
Whipnotic comes in a 7-oz traditional steel aerosol can from a proprietary supplier. (In the future, as the company scales and grows, it plans to switch to aluminum cans.) What is not traditional is the can’s dispensing nozzle, which took two years to develop.
Luckow recalls the sisters’ first steps in the development process: “Lori and I started by spending time really studying the whipped cream category—one we loved as consumers but never spent time understanding as businesspeople. We really wanted to get into the mindset of the most loyal customers—how they were enjoying whipped cream in foodservice and at home—so we could provide more value, creativity, and innovation in the grocery store that mimicked that already entrenched behavior.”
Luckow shares that as a result of this research, the sisters realized in order to provide a new experience for consumers, they would need to invent a new technology that would completely reimagine a whipped cream nozzle—making it more like a frozen yogurt dispenser with the capability of swirling two flavors together. “That work started with sketches about two years ago,” she says. “Then the sketches became prototypes, and those prototypes became real scaled-up parts that work in a production facility.”
She adds that while the nozzle, with its brightly colored, 1.34-in. oval pushbutton, or “pod,” integrated on the side, looks pretty and seems simple, everything about it is complicated. “I think the hardest part is that everyone’s hands are different, and the way they push the nozzle is different,” she says. “Some people are very light pushers, others have a very heavy hand. And the nozzle needed to work for everyone.”
While developing the proprietary technology, the sisters also needed to take into consideration the manufacturing and packaging processes for the product. “A whipped cream factory is set up in a very specific way,” explains Gitomer, “so it would be very difficult to disrupt the whole manufacturing system. Instead, we found a loophole, which was to design a technology that works at the end of the process flow. We actually created a new nozzle that contains all the flavor differentiation. When pressed, it swirls the natural flavor right into the whipped cream, creating a really beautiful, tasty multi-sensorial product that can be eaten in new ways.”
The product is packaged by co-packer Alamance Foods, Inc., an aerosol technology company that specializes in whipped cream. The nozzle technology was issued a U.S. and global patent, which not only makes Gitomer and Luckow Women Founders (they are certified members of the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council [WBEN]), but also women inventors.
Whipped-up graphics provide shelf-impact
With the eye-catching and innovative nozzle technology in place, Whipnotic’s co-founders turned to their attention to the aerosol can’s graphics, conceiving and developing the look and feel of the brand internally. “We knew we wanted to lean into bold colors and patterns to really ‘shake up’ the category and bring excitement to the dairy aisle,” Gitomer says. “From there, we collaborated with the former team at Halo Top [ice cream] to bring our vision to life.”
The resulting package graphics feature a riotous array of color and swirl patterns specific to each flavor, with a white block front-and-center featuring the Whipnotic logo and variety name. “We swirled together vibrant colors and patterns on the can to reflect our key point of difference—our swirl technology,” says Gitomer. “We added some fun graphics, such as strawberry seeds and salt specks to bring our first two flavors to life. The rounded font choice was to balance the elevated design with the playfulness and fun of whipped cream. Finally, we decided to create a better and more secure safety cap that was translucent so that the consumer can’t miss our colorful pod/nozzle.”
The pods are boldly colored to match the specific label design: a purple pod for Vanilla Salted Caramel, which features purple, yellow and gold swirls, and a red pod to complement Strawberry Swirl’s pink, green, and red graphics. A round icon on the front of the label calls out the nozzle’s functionality, reading “Press Button & Spray for Flavor.” On the back of the can, four icons provide usage instructions: 1. Shake Well; 2. Flip Upside Down; 3. Press Button & Spray; 4. Rinse with Water & Refrigerate After Use.
Graphics are printed on a high-gloss paper label that is applied during the packaging process.
Long pipeline of future innovation
Since Whipnotic’s launch last summer, the company has added two new varieties—Chocolate Fudge and Mango Swirl—to its product line and has expanded its retail distribution significantly. “Whipnotic is currently selling in over 250 stores across 22 states,” says Luckow. “You can find us in premium grocers such as The Fresh Market, Citarella, DeCiccos, and many others. We are constantly updating our store locator at Whipnotic.com for the latest and greatest.”
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She adds, “We have been overwhelmed by the excitement and demand from both retailers and consumers. It is incredibly validating to see Whipnotic fly off the shelves and earn multiple placements in stores. The number one question we’re asked from both retailers and consumers is, ‘When are you launching new flavors?’”
Rest assured, there are more flavors in Whipnotic’s future. Reveals Gitomer, “We have a very long pipeline that includes lots more flavor variety, as well as two additional packaging innovations with provisional patents that will surprise and delight whipped cream fans.”