New vegan ice cream products are launching at more than double the rate they did in 2015, market research company Mintel found. In the last 12 months, vegan ice cream launches have represented 7 percent of the total ice cream products category—a figure that has more than doubled the 3-percent market share vegan ice cream held in 2015. “The recent buzz around veganism has made its mark on the ice cream category,” Kate Vlietstra, Mintel Global Food & Drink Analyst, said. “Interest in vegan ice cream isn’t restricted to those following a vegan diet. Learning from their dairy counterparts, plant-based ice creams are moving beyond the basic flavours to offer indulgent options.”
Mintel also found that new ice cream products that feature textural components—such as chocolate chunks, cookie pieces, and toffee—are on the rise, increasing from 2 percent of the total new vegan ice cream launches to 13 percent in the research period. “Texture is playing a prominent part in vegan new product development (NPD) with chunkier varieties on offer,” Vlietstra said. “Brands are demonstrating that vegan offerings can be premium with an array of luxury flavour combinations and packaging.”
When it comes to the most popular flavors, chocolate, vanilla, and coconut take the top three spots. “The makeup of plant-based ice cream will evolve, incorporating new ingredients from the world of plant milk such as quinoa and other seeds,” Vlietstra predicted. “Oats are expected to feature in more dairy-free ice creams, following on from the popularity of oats in plant-based drinks.”
Within the last year, a variety of brands have launched new vegan ice cream flavors, including Ben & Jerry’s—which expanded its existing vegan pint lineup with sunflower butter-based flavors in early 2020 and recently released climate crisis-themed vegan flavors in Australia and the United Kingdom.