vegan ice creams

Here's why vegan ice creams are gaining popularity

A look at the benefits of switching to dairy-free and vegan ice creams

In recent times, we have seen vegan ice creams become increasingly popular. This has occurred for so many different reasons that range from dietary requirements to a more eco-conscious way of living. Regardless of the reason, vegan ice cream flavours are taking the world by storm and it’s a trend that doesn’t show any signs of changing in the foreseeable future.

 

Now, as much as we love a scoop of good old-fashioned ice cream, not everyone can consume the delicious treat without their stomachs feeling the pain. In fact, research has found that 75 per cent of the world’s population is lactose intolerant. In addition to this, the world has also become more concerned about the treatment of dairy cows as well as the impact the dairy industry has on the environment. When you consider these two ideals, the projected market size of $1.2 billion USD by 2025 seems realistic. In 2018, the market size was already $455.9 million and if the projected growth does in fact occur, vegan ice cream creators and producers are in for quite the ride.

 

What is vegan ice cream?

While these facts and figures are impressive, we need to understand what makes vegan ice cream stand out from the crowd. Now, the most obvious difference is the fact that vegan ice cream is completely plant-based. This then begs the question, 'What is plant-based ice cream?'

 

Vegan, or plant-based ice cream, is exactly as the name implies. It is free of animal products and made using all-natural plant substitutes. To achieve this all-natural, creamy dessert, many of them are made with the freshest organic products and use coconut cream to produce the creaminess that has become synonymous with ice cream.

 

Is plant-based ice cream good?

This is a million-dollar question and can refer to one of two things – the taste or the nutritional content. I’ll address both.

 

To start with, plant-based ice cream is generally organic. This means that the product has been responsibly sourced which is good for the environment. This fresh produce is then used in creating both the ice cream base as well as the flavour.

 

Let’s think about the classic vegan strawberry ice cream flavour. When it’s been made using fresh, organic produce you can taste the difference. Fresh strawberries are used to make a preserve that is then mixed into a creamy coconut base. Now, if you’ve ever eaten fresh strawberries, you will know how vibrant the flavour can be. This vibrant flavour is front and centre in vegan ice cream and even gives the ice cream a pink colour. You can even substitute the coconut base with an almond butter base for a different taste and texture.

 

Taking this a step further, plant-based products are also packed with nutrients and vitamins that would otherwise have been lost in the overly processed, commercial versions. Going back to our strawberry example, the berries are packed with antioxidants, fibre, and vitamins. They also promote good heart health, increases healthy cholesterol levels, lowers blood pressure, and can prevent certain cancers. All of these properties can be found in your plant-based ice cream. Each ingredient has been carefully selected to create a delicious, healthy product.

 

vegan ice creams

Is vegan ice cream healthier?

The vegan frozen dessert is just as tasty as organic dairy ice cream and doesn’t impact your cholesterol levels in the same way. Let’s start by unpacking the key ingredients.

 

Dairy ice cream is usually made using cow’s milk, eggs, and heavy cream. Vegan ice cream, on the other hand, is made using ingredients that include plant-based produce i.e., coconut milk, cashew milk, almond milk, soya milk, pea protein, and fava bean.

 

Dairy ice cream gets its richness from the fat in milk and cream. With vegan ice cream, fats from plant-based elements such as almonds, cashews, and coconuts step in to help provide the creamy consistency we expect from this frozen dessert.

 

The benefits of eating vegan ice cream

Promote healthy cholesterol levels

Since it’s typically made with milk and cream, dairy ice cream contains loads of saturated fat. This type of fat can increase cholesterol levels. Many vegan ice cream options have much less saturated fats than dairy ice cream. As a result, plant-based ice cream is typically healthier.

 

Preferred choice for those who are lactose intolerant

Your body makes use of an enzyme known as lactase to break down milk. Some people’s bodies produce inadequate amounts of this enzyme. As a result, they can’t digest milk. This is known as lactose intolerance. 30 to 50 million American adults suffer from this condition. Non-dairy ice cream is simpler for the body to digest, and it won’t result in the negative side effects that you have come to expect from dairy ice cream.

 

Animal friendly

Dairy cows that are commercially raised and live in hard conditions. They live in cramped spaces and are pressured to breed and sacrifice their calves without raising them. Vegan ice cream avoids the need for dairy cows altogether.

 

Eco-friendly

Raising and feeding dairy cows produces a lot of waste and environmental damage. Massive resources are used to create feed for the cows. Also, the waste produced by the cows can create unpleasant smells that travel to surrounding communities. Since it carries no dairy products, vegan ice cream has none of this baggage.

 

Fewer calories

Some brands of vegan ice cream include fewer calories than versions made with dairy products. This can help you maintain your weight. And if you’re looking to lose weight, choosing vegan ice cream as a substitute may provide the caloric deficit you want to drop a few pounds.

Milk alternatives in vegan ice cream

When it boils down to it, ice cream is a creamy treat, and for vegan ice cream to be truly creamy, milk and other animal by-products need to be substituted with ingredients with similar qualities.

 

The list of possible milk substitutes includes:

  • Banana Puree
  • Berry Puree
  • Oat Milk
  • Coconut Milk
  • Cashew Milk
  • Almond Milk
  • Avocado
  • Mixed nuts

 

Vegan ice cream is growing in popularity for so many different reasons, but the bottom line is that it promotes a healthier way of living. Isn’t it time that you tried organic, locally-sourced vegan ice cream?

Kelly Tassos

Kelly works as a marketing assistant and considers herself to be a food connoisseur who loves exploring some of the most exclusive restaurants and establishments in New York.