20 years of Häagen-Dazs mooncakes

For 20 years, Häagen-Dazs mooncakes have been a key part of the Mid-Autumn Festival in China and other regions in Asia.

Mooncake innovation

People deliver mooncake as gifts to relatives, friends, clients and teachers, among others – similar to the gift-giving tradition around the Christmas holidays in many other parts of the world. The Mid-Autumn Festival is celebrated on the 15th day of the eighth month in the Chinese lunar calendar (Oct. 4, this year), when the moon is at its fullest and roundest.

Traditional mooncake is made of flour, with sweet filling, such as nuts, beans and lotus flowers. This year marked the 20th year since Häagen-Dazs began making its ice cream mooncakes (a Häagen-Dazs chef in Hong Kong created the first one).

Consumers typically order their mooncake a week or two ahead of the Mid-Autumn Festival, then pick up their orders just before it starts. Every year, it’s all hands on deck for nearly every General Mills employee in the region to help fulfill orders during General Mills China’s busiest season of the year.

General Mills China also created a special Häagen-Dazs mooncake section on Tmall, China’s most popular e-commerce site. A moon displayed on the subsite changed from a crescent to a full moon with each digital bite of a mooncake.

This year one of the highlights was the Mochi mooncake. Traditional mochi is a sweet sticky rice that is frequently served as a snack or dessert. The Häagen-Dazs team found a way to embed little clusters of mochi into its ice cream, which was a technical challenge to maintain the right texture of the rice when it is surrounded by freezing ice cream.

The Mochi mooncake innovation helped Häagen-Dazs be named one of the winning brands in this year’s mooncake competition in China.