Non-dairy ice cream is a frozen dessert that is manufactured without the use of animal products. It is suitable for those people who have an intolerance to lactose or gluten and also for vegans in the majority of occasions. Some non-dairy ice cream is not suitable for vegans due to it being manufactured in an environment that may also be used to produce egg-based products; therefore, individual packaging should be consulted prior to purchase.
By its very nature, ice cream can be manufactured from any product that can also produce a milk or similar liquid. Therefore, it is common to find the majority of non-dairy ice cream products are soya or oat based. Other core ingredients for the production of ice cream do also exist; however, these include tofu — itself a fermented soya product — and even hemp or biomass. Soya and oat-based milk products are popular alternatives for lactose intolerant and vegan consumers.
The popularity of non-dairy ice cream has increased dramatically since the turn of the millennium with a gradual increase in manufacturers entering the market. Alongside this increase in manufacturers has come an expansion in the varieties of non-dairy ice cream available in the marketplace. The majority of innovations in the field of non-dairy ice cream stems from producers in the United States, although inspiration for new products and flavors comes from worldwide locations.
There exists a considerable quantity of core ingredients from which non-dairy ice cream is produced, some of these are readily available, such as soya and oat-based desserts. Others are generally harder to track down, with specialist ice cream parlors and online vegan resellers being the most likely locations to source these alternatives. There are several online and high street-based health stores that deal in the supply of non-dairy ice creams, but as of yet, they are considerably more difficult to find on the shelves of major retailers. Some of the rarer ingredients include ice cream produced from hemp, rice, and coconut.
Production of non-dairy ice cream continues to grow and shows little sign of slowing. The continued innovation in core ingredients, flavors, and distribution streams means that the market share for the product looks certain to increase consistently in forthcoming years. Many aficionados of the dessert extol the virtues over dairy-based products, such as health and sustainability. Indeed, many consumers have actually turned to non-dairy desserts as an alternative with no ulterior requirement other than a personal preference.