Ben and Jerry’s, the Vermont-based ice cream company, is launching a new line of vegan, non-dairy products in the coming months that are certified by Vegan Action.
It says the following on its website.
“Vegan friends, whether you’ve been waiting three decades or three days for certified vegan non-dairy decadence, it’s time to rejoice! We’ve partnered with Vegan Action to certify that our non-dairy doesn’t include animal products of any kind—including eggs, dairy or honey. We admire you for your commitment and we hope you love the magnificent vegan chunks & swirls we’ve loaded into these bad boys.”
These non-dairy creations have been two-and-a-half years in the making, and are partly a response to a 2014 Change.org petition that racked up more than 28,000 signatures, including one from the current U.S. Senator from New Jersey, Cory Booker.
It asked Ben and Jerry’s to offer a non-animal product line of ice cream, which would signal to their customers that such alternatives can be mainstream and don’t mean sacrificing great flavor and their favorite brands, and that they don’t have to be vegan to enjoy them.
The petition also points out that there are serious ethical issues with dairy farming, where even small dairy farms separate calves from their mothers, a process that is traumatic for both the cow and the calf. It reiterates that non-dairy alternatives are in demand for those trying to make compassionate, as well as environmentally friendly, choices.
Ben and Jerry’s responded by working on the issue for a few years and come up with almond milk as the alternative for vegan ice cream. Their website says the following.
“Why Almond Milk? After experimenting with all sorts of different formulas, our Flavor Gurus decided that almond milk provided the best ‘blank canvas’ for the delicious brownies, caramel, nuts, and chocolate we sourced. And it’s so rich & creamy that while digging into a pint you will constantly have to remind yourself that it’s non-dairy.”
Kirsten Schimoler, the “flavor guru” behind the new vegan line, said the following in a statement.
“It took 50 or more versions of almond milk base mix to get to a point where we felt taste and texture were good enough to start adding chunks and swirls. There were versions that were so thick they looked like pudding and I couldn’t freeze or pump it; there were versions that were so firm it wouldn’t scoop. Trial and error was the name of the game. As they say, you must kiss a few frogs before you find your prince!”
Philly.com reported that B&J spokesperson Sean Greenwood said that the company had started working on this line back in 2013 beause of last year’s change.org petition for a vegan flavor.
“[The petition] was a positive thing.”
The Huffington Post reported that Schimoler admitted that it took a few years to develop the right balance of ingredients, as there was no pre-existing process, to make a creamy dairy-free mix that had the same mouthfeel and texture as ice cream — the longest it’s ever taken to make a new flavor. As a result, Ben & Jerry’s is even making its own almond milk for the base.
“Creating these new flavors with a Non-Dairy base composition that meets the high expectations of Ben & Jerry’s consumers was quite a challenge. We wanted to bring the same fun with all of the creamy, funky, and chunky swirls plus the Ben & Jerry’s flavor excitement to our Non-Dairy fans and we nailed it!”
Pints of the vegan line-up are slated to retail for $5.69 each, and can be found at Ben & Jerry’s scoop shops nationwide.
[Image via www.benjerry.com]