Here’s the inside scoop on vegan ice cream — and why it’s everywhere now

As the temperatures warm up and hordes of Americans start spending their days at the beach or pool, they’ll be thinking of that ultimate summer treat to help keep them cool: ice cream.

While your order of choice is seared into your brain in case an ice cream truck rolls down your street, you might be surprised to find a whole new world of options at your local grocery store or ice cream shop.

Thanks to the popularization of plant-based diets, non-dairy ice cream has become a huge industry, catering to people with all types of palates, dietary needs and curiosities for where the world of ice cream can be. go.

Brittany Martin is the editor of The Vegetarian Times, which focuses on plant-based foods and the lifestyle that goes with them.

“There has been an incredible explosion in the availability of vegan ice cream, as well as its quality,” Martin said. “Market reports indicate there has been something like a 300% increase just since 2018.”

Mat Hayward/Getty Images for WeWork


Getty Images for WeWork

What flavor do you choose?

She theorizes that there are a few factors behind this boom.

First, there has been an increase in the number of people adopting a vegan or vegetarian diet in recent years. Second, people have become more open to trying these alternatives, whether for health, environmental reasons, or just because it tastes good.

“People used to think vegan ice cream was less good, or not as delicious, not as creamy,” she said. “But between people who are just more creative…and some of the technological innovations, the quality is really there.”

These innovations can range from intriguing new flavor combinations to better textures than the vegan options that have existed before. And finally, to a product that feels much more familiar to the average consumer.

Alicia Kennedy, a writer specializing in vegetarian cuisine, said that until recently there were only a handful of little-known brands selling vegan ice cream. Now, big companies have entered the game.

“You’re going to see Ben & Jerry’s non-dairy products in the aisles of a Walgreens or any old supermarket,” she said. “It was a real change from an aisle at the natural grocer.”

These days, you can also find ice cream made from all types of milk – cashews, oats, hemp, etc., each offering a distinct flavor and texture.

While both Kennedy and Martin say plant-based ice cream is unlikely to replace the dairy option anytime soon, Martin said it’s not about competing — it’s just about having more options available for everyone.

“It’s not weird, you don’t miss anything,” she said. “It’s just as awesome and it’s going to satisfy all those cravings you have”

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