Halo Top joins Ben & Jerry’s, Breyers and Haagen-Dazs ice cream serving non dairy alternatives
Consumers are screaming for vegan ice cream.
Dairy-free flavors make up 4% of all new ice cream launches, according to market research firm Mintel. And as the market for vegan ice cream is headed to reach a reported $2.45 billion by 2027, big brands certainly seem to be milking the demand for more nut- and plant-based frozen treats.
Cult favorite Halo Top is going vegan https://t.co/aTLbVn2Kuu
— Moneyish (@Moneyish) October 4, 2017
Low calorie frozen ice cream brand Halo Top, the protein packed pint with a cult following for having just 360 calories or less per container, announced it’s selling dairy-free flavors in stores mid October. Vegans and lactose-averse can expect varieties like Peanut Butter Cup, Chocolate, Oatmeal Cookie, Sea Salt Caramel, Caramel Macchiato, Cinnamon Roll and Chocolate Covered Banana all made with coconut milk. Each will be between 280 to 360 calories and have 16 to 24 grams of sugar per pint and cost about $5.99 each.
“The number one request that we get from our fans is to make a non-dairy and vegan-friendly version of Halo Top. Whether you have to or choose to restrict dairy—or only eat vegan—we always want to make sure we listen to our fans,” Justin Woolverton, Halo Top’s founder and CEO, said in a press release. “It took a long time to ‘get it right,’ but we’re absolutely thrilled with the outcome and can’t wait for our fans to try these flavors.”
With veganism growing 500% in the US since 2014, plant-based, non-dairy treats are no longer a fringe market. Dairy consumption has been decreasing for decades with one out of every three Americans favoring non-dairy milk, according to Consumer Insights. US dairy sales are expected to decline until 2020 to $15.9 billion, an 11% drop since 2015, according to Mintel. And one million Americans follow a vegan diet.
Halo Top is just the latest brand to launch a dairy-free ice cream, still emulating the creamy texture of the real stuff. Soy milk based ice cream is the most popular alternative to dairy, though almond milk and coconut milk are the driving the flavor profiles of new sweet treats too. Big brands like Breyers and Haagen-Dazs offer dairy-free ice cream alternatives. Last year, Ben & Jerry’s led the pack with pints of its signature best sellers like Chocolate Fudge Brownie and Chunky Monkey — banana with fudge chunks and walnuts — and Cherry Garcia along with brand new flavors like PB & J Cookies all made with an almond milk base. The vegan pints retail for $5.69, 80 cents more than the standard dairy pints.
Similarly, Breyers substituted dairy with almond milk for flavors like Non-Dairy Oreo Cookies & Cream variety ($4.99 per 1.5 quarts). And this year, Haagen Dazs rolled out four non-dairy flavors of its own like Chocolate Salted Fudge Truffle and Coconut Caramel for around $5.59 per 14-ounce carton. But instead of adding in a nut milk, they decided to ramp up the sugar and core ingredients like Belgian chocolate and coconut cream in addition to water.
The plant-based ice cream market is set to grow nearly 10% annually over the next decade. And smaller ice cream startups are joining the growing trend.
“The non-dairy market has grown immensely in the last few years due to the popularity of a more ‘flexitarian’ diet that is less dependent on meat and dairy,” says Russell Barnett, CMO of My/Mo Mochi Ice Cream, who plans to introduce a non-dairy variety to the brand’s expanding portfolio.
“Our fans are demanding it and we don’t plan to let them down. We are working on some exciting new offerings so look for big news in small bite-size packages,” he adds.
But just because pints are labeled vegan or non-dairy, it’s still ice cream and it doesn’t mean the cool treat is any healthier, nutritionists say.
“None of this stuff is out right healthy,” says dietitian and nutritionist Lisa Young.
“Look for lower fat brands. If it has the artificial sweeteners, it’s not healthy. Have half a cup or no more than one cup,” she suggests.
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