When Dairy Free Hits The Sweet Spot: Free From Finally Meets Foodservice
Ice cream and desserts have finally hit the spotlight in this obesity-obsessed era where a desire for indulgence has been replaced by a guilt of eating sugar-laden products. Adding further fuel to the fire is the belief that dairy is now bad for you and veganism is the way forward. That this apocalyptical message has now escaped Pandora’s Box should strike fear and terror into any manufacturer of sweet desserts. But it doesn’t.
Many manufacturers are quite happily ploughing on and treating one or both of these fears as a temporary blip. Oppo Ice Creams were recently quoted in the Grocer magazine as saying ‘Dairy-free is a flash in the pan. A vocal but tiny market, and a very crowded one’. That less than five brands are selling dairy-free ice cream in the multiples appears to be lost on the brothers and that Sainsbury’s are launching an entire ‘Deliciously Free From’ frozen dessert range – manufactured by Taywell Ice Creams, shows two distinct camps have formed. Swedish Glace is the UK’s 9th largest brand of non-dairy ice creams and is growing at 25% per annum, so who is right?
To date, most dairy free has either been a ‘sorbet type’, made with soya or made using a base of nuts such as almonds or cashews. Last year, in the US, one in five of all new product launches was made using coconut and the flavour profile and mouth texture of coconut has many similarities to dairy ice cream: especially the fat content. This makes it an ideal candidate when considering the alternative nut based or soy based products.
Taywell has launched a dairy free, casein, egg, soy, gluten and allergen free range into the foodservice sector and this is available either directly from the company itself or through Turner’s Fine Food in Kent. The range consists of Coconut Vanilla, Chocolate and Strawberry and is Vegan Society and Kosher approved.
Therefore, dessert menus can finally hit the sweet spot and keep the vegans and the new free from ‘lifestylers’ who make up 40% of the UK market happy. It will be these ‘lifestylers’ who drive the market and at present, most restaurants are woefully unprepared for them. It was hard enough to keep the gluten free coeliacs happy and now foodservice outlets must contend with dairy free. Let’s hope they do it at a better pace because these ‘lifestylers’ are young and mobile and will quite easily walk out the door if they are unsatisfied.
Finally, for the more adventurous, Taywell has launched a retail range of natural, dairy and allergen free frozen dessert and to top it, made without any white sugar. It has over 60% less sugar than normal ice cream and caters for the vegans, diabetics and healthy lifestylers. This Sweet Rebellion branded range will soon been available for the foodservice sector. The health credentials of ice cream and dairy free has just got an awful lot better.