Big scoop for vegan ice cream

Big scoop for vegan ice cream
People want plant based ice cream - if protein is added, it's even better

Global plant-based ice cream new product development doubles in five year. Vegan ice cream accounts for 7 per cent of all ice cream launches globally. People in the UK would eat eat more – if protein was added.

The latest research from Mintel Global New Product Database (GNPD) shows vegan ice cream accounts for an increasing proportion of global ice cream launches, making up 7% of all launches in the last 12 months, more than double the 3% five years ago.

Chunky textures

Within the sector, the focus on the textural qualities of plant-based ice cream is increasing. Vegan ice creams with a chunky texture such as nuts, cookie pieces, toffee pieces and cookie dough chunks have surged from 2 to 13 per cent of launches over the last four years. Adapting to this trend is likely to appeal to the 73% of UK ice cream consumers who said that they like ice cream with different textures (eg. crunchy, hard).

Chocolate (accounting for 26 per cent of innovation over the last 12 months), vanilla (11%) and coconut (9%) still remain the most popular in terms of plant-based flavour innovation.

This comes as 12 per cent of UK adults agree that the coronavirus outbreak has made a vegan diet more appealing, almost doubling among under-25s (23%).

High added protein potential

Protein has gained importance with consumers; over the last five years, food and drink launches featuring high/added protein claims have doubled from 2% to 4% of total food and drink. Meanwhile, high/added protein ice cream claims have increased from under 1% of ice creams to over 2% in the last four years. While relatively small in number, the opportunity for ice cream with added protein is highlighted by the fact that around one in six British consumers would eat more ice cream if it had added protein.

Kate Vlietstra, Mintel Global Food & Drink Analyst, said “Ice cream is a treat food; a smaller amount of protein will satisfy the consumer demand for healthier options while allowing brands to explore different protein options. Plant protein from legumes, grain and seeds can offer a high-protein alternative to dairy protein. With sustainability ever the topic of discussion, the ice cream category will need to demonstrate its ethical credentials to continue to win favour with consumers, and plant proteins can appeal due to their lower carbon footprint than dairy proteins.”