Going vegan doesn’t mean you have to give up on amazing food, and that’s been proven time and time again as the cruelty-free products become mainstream. Products from Beyond Meat and the upcoming Louisville restaurant by V-Grits Food Company showcase how similar dairy and meat-free food can be to what many of us grew up eating. Ben & Jerry's has been “veganizing” their ice cream recently as well, and they’ve recently announced two new flavors into the mix.
Back in February 2016, the popular ice cream brand announced their non-dairy lineup made out of almond milk and was certified vegan. It included four different flavors: P.B. & Cookies, Coffee Caramel Fudge, Chocolate Fudge Brownie, and Chunky Monkey. That lineup expanded with three more flavors in 2017: Caramel Almond Brittle, Cherry Garcia, and Coconut Seven Layer Bar.
Two more flavors will be added to the lineup this year: Peanut Butter Half-Baked and Cinnamon Buns. The first product is a popular mashup of chocolate and peanut butter ice cream with chunks of fudge brownies and peanut butter cookie dough. As you’d expect for the other product, this features cinnamon ice cream with bun dough and cinnamon swirls. Both flavors were picked by fans through social media.
All nine of Ben & Jerry’s non-dairy ice cream products are served by the pint and have a retail price of $5.99 USD. Not only can these items be consumed by those who are lactose intolerant and people that choose not to purchase dairy products, but they have an added benefit of being 100 percent cholesterol free.
“20 percent of our total product line-up is now non-dairy based,” Neila Horikawa, Ben & Jerry’s assistant brand manager, told VegNews. “In general, we have been very pleased with this product line and our fans’ response and excitement around the offering."
Ben & Jerry's isn’t the only ice cream distributor that’s tapped into the vegan market. Breyers released Non-Dairy Vanilla Peanut Butter and Oreo Cookies & Cream frozen desserts beginning last year. Blue Bunny began testing their “Dairy Free” lineup in select areas in 2015, but they haven’t nationally rolled it out yet.
Smaller non-dairy ice cream brands also put an emphasis on healthier ingredients. For example, “Nada Moo Gotta Do Chocolate Ice Cream” is made from coconut milk and nearly all the ingredients are organic. It has just eight grams of sugar, 120 calories, and it doesn’t use any artificial sweetening.
Regardless of preference, it’s good to see a wide variety of non-dairy ice cream that’s hitting close to the expectations people have from traditional ice cream. Like other vegan products, these options can run a bit more expensive than what we’re used to (Ben & Jerry’s Non-Dairy pints retail at $1 more, on average), but each carton produced is much better for our environment.