The ice cream comes in many different flavors and is a "super-premium" brand, meaning it is quite dense (very little air is mixed in during manufacture), uses no emulsifiers or stabilizers other than egg yolks, and has a high butterfat content. Häagen-Dazs is also meant to be kept at a temperature that is substantially lower than most ice creams in order to keep its intended firmness. It is sold both in grocery stores and in dedicated retail outlets serving ice cream cones, sundaes, and so on.
A majority of the permanent flavors offered by the company include chocolate in one form or another, though there are vanilla-based blends as well.
The Häagen-Dazs brand is owned by General Mills. However, in the United States and Canada, Häagen-Dazs products are produced by Dreyer's Grand Ice Cream, Inc., a Nestlé subsidiary, under a pre-existing license
Contrary to appearances, the name does not derive from any of the North Germanic languages; it is simply two made-up words meant to look Scandinavian to American eyes (in fact, the digraphs "äa" and "zs" are not a part of any native words in any of the Scandinavian languages). This is known in the marketing industry as foreign branding. Mattus included an outline map of Scandinavia on early labels, as well as the names of Oslo, Copenhagen and Stockholm, to reinforce the Scandinavian theme. A name was created by reversing the name of Duncan Hines an original potential marketer of the product. When that deal didn't materialize the name was manipulated to sound Scandinavian.
The playful spelling devices in the name evoke the spelling systems used in several European countries. "ä" is used in the spelling of the German, Estonian, Finnish, Slovak and Swedish languages, doubled vowel letters spell long vowels in Estonian, Finnish, Dutch, and occasionally German; and zs corresponds to in Hungarian. None of these spelling conventions is used in pronouncing the name of the American product, which has a short a, hard g, and a final s sound. One close real name to the fake Häagen is the rare Norwegian first name Haagen. It also bears a resemblance to Den Haag, which is "The Hague" in Dutch. Dazs does not mean anything even in Hungarian despite the "zs" grapheme, and sounds too unfamiliar even to be a name. The closest real word in Hungarian is "darázs", which means "wasp".
A further step in branding is the renaming of the Teatro Calderón in Madrid, Spain to Teätro Häagen-Dazs Calderón. There is no ä in the Spanish alphabet.
In 1980, Häagen-Dazs unsuccessfully sued Frusen Glädjé, an ice cream maker whose name, in Swedish, means "frozen delight." Häagen-Dazs's complaints included Frusen Glädjé's "Scandinavian marketing theme", "prominently displayed list of the product's natural ingredients, a list of artificial ingredients not found in the ice cream, directions for serving and eating the ice cream (essentially that it was best served soft), and a map of Scandinavia."
Carton resizing in the US
To offset increasing costs of their ingredients and the delivery of the product, Häagen Dazs announced that in January 2009 it would be reducing the size of their ice cream cartons in the US from 16 US fl oz (470 ml; 17 imp fl oz) to 14 US fl oz . Additionally they announced that in March 2009 they would be shrinking the 32 US fl oz (950 ml; 33 imp fl oz) container to 28 US fl oz .In response, Ben & Jerry's said that they would not be changing the sizes of their cartons.