Vegan-friendly foods have been steadily finding their place in the ice cream industry. In fact, they have taken a massive bite out of sales in the market. According to Future Market Insights, plant-based ice cream sales in the United States are through the roof, and are estimated to reach nearly $1 billion in just a few short years.
As the demand for plant-based frozen dessert is expected to increase, brands everywhere are sitting up and taking notice. So far Ben and Jerry’s, Cornetto, Haagen Dazs, and Halo Top have already created vegan alternatives alongside their normally dairy-rich products.
Another ice cream player is taking notice as well. Bubbies, a Hawaiian-based company, is known for their whimsical bite-sized ice cream called mochi. The company recently launched their new line of vegan mochi earlier this month in Anaheim, California while attending the Natural Products Expo West, an event which highlights natural food products.
Mochi, often described as an "ice cream dumpling," can be made in a wide range of flavors including green tea, passion fruit, vanilla, and chocolate. While it’s gained popularity in the United States lately, these snacks have been around for centuries. Originally from Japan, mochi has been enjoyed since 794 A.D. People often eat these bite-sized desserts during the New Year, since they are considered a symbol of good luck.
Today, Bubbies is giving this classic dessert a few tweaks. The new recipe is gluten-free, GMO-free, kosher, and most importantly for vegans, dairy-free. Bubbies uses real fruit puree and skips ingredients like rBST.
The mochi’s dough, which envelopes the ice cream, is made with rice flour to create a chewy and soft texture. Bubbies prides themselves on being one of the first in the industry to add flavor to this outer coating instead of just plain food coloring. Some of the company’s first vegan mochi flavors to hit the market will be mango, vanilla, cherry, and mint.
Long before paving the way for animal lovers, Bubbies started off in Hawaii in 1985 as a homemade ice cream parlor in Honolulu. Founder Keith Robbins named the company after his grandmother and continued to make over-the-counter ice creams until the early 2000s when the company started tinkering with Japanese-inspired mochi.
Since then, the sweet taste of success with this bite-sized dessert has allowed the company to grow and expand. They opened a facility in Phoenix, with efficient production capabilities, earlier this year.
While Bubbies mochi can be found in supermarkets across the U.S., Whole Foods locations offer a self-serve bar where customers can pick different flavors and buy in bulk to avoid packaging. As an added eco-friendly advantage, this frozen dessert doesn’t require a disposable bowl or utensils.