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With an evolution in flavor options, formats and formulations over the past decade, accompanied by an increase in consumer education about plant-based products in general, non-dairy frozen desserts are being embraced by vegans and dairy consumers.
“I think there was a kind of convergence of animal welfare, sustainability and health orientation around eating more plants,” says Deena Jalal, co-founder and chief product officer. at Boston-area plant-based ice cream maker Sweet Tree Creamery.
Dave Robinson, director of So Delicious Dairy Free, a division of Danone North America, based in White Plains, NY, agrees that consumers today are more likely than ever to seek plant-based alternatives.
“Now that flexitarian diets are on the rise, consumers are more interested in all aspects of the plant-based eating experience, not just specific signature ingredients,” observes Robinson. “They are looking for non-dairy options that bring high quality taste, texture and variety to their diet.”
According to Jalal, more accessible milk substitutes and identifiable ingredients also encourage more consumers to choose these products and stick with them. “I think people are more open-minded and more likely to try it,” she explains, providing yet another reason why consumers are embracing these desserts long-term.
In an effort to bolster its dairy-like appeal, So Delicious has unveiled the Wondermilk range of frozen pints and sundae cones using a blend of these more accessible milk alternatives – including oats, coconut and soy – which promises to be smooth, rich and creamy. .
“With our Wondermilk frozen desserts, we wanted to make sure the flavors were in the spotlight, not the dairy-free ingredients themselves,” Robinson points out. “We’ve also unlocked a unique, indulgent texture, so the pints and cones have a creamy, melt-in-the-mouth finish that delights the senses.”
He continues: “With Wondermilk, we set out to reach out to reluctant dairy lovers and challenge their assumptions about the taste of plant-based alternatives, helping to bridge the gap between dairy and dairy households. herbal.”
South Burlington, Vt.-based ice cream stalwart Ben & Jerry’s is doubling down on its vegan desserts with the recent introduction of staple flavors Nondairy Boom Chocolatta and Nondairy Bananas Foster, while among newcomers to the segment, the Cleveland-based Wonderlab dairy-oat and hemp-free gelatos, known as Doozy Pots, rolled out to grocers nationwide late last year.
Beyond the ingredients, many manufacturers are taking plant-based frozen desserts to the next level by going beyond the typical pint-sized packaging, including frozen sundae cones from So Delicious; a dairy-free and gluten-free Vanilla Bean Sammie from Alden’s Organic of Eugene, Oregon; and plant-based gluten-free oat milk mochi from Phoenix-based Bubbies. For its part, Sweet Tree Creamery now offers its non-dairy ice cream in pints, a move that Jalal says opens up options for families who want more product but don’t want to spend so much money on small pints.