If we had to guess from where does Häagen-Dazs come from, most of us would have said a European country. Germany? Denmark? Sweden? Or perhaps, The Netherlands? I mean, it’s a weird name, it has to come from one of those countries, right?
Well, it doesn’t. Häagen-Dazs actually comes from Bronx, New York.
Established in 1961 by American Jewish entrepreneurs Reuben and Rose Mattus, Häagen-Dazs went from selling ice-cream from a horse-drawn wagon in the streets of Bronx to a multinational, multi-billion dollar company into a few decades. The name though doesn’t mean anything (in any language) and it was actually the result of brilliant branding: (the article continues after the ad)
Häagen-Dazs was made up to sound Danish because its inventors thought it conveyed an “aura of the old-world traditions and craftsmanship.” They even went on to add an umlaut in the first “ä”, even though that particular punctuation mark does not exist in the Danish language, because they thought that this was a way to make their product stand out. To further establish their imaginary Danish roots, the original ice cream cartons were even carrying a map of Denmark!
But why a Danish meaningless name?
Online magazine Tablet says that Mattus was inspired by Denmark because it was “the only country which saved the Jews during World War II.”