Vegan Ice Cream: The New Frontier

The number of plant based Consumer packaged good (CPG) products on the market has increased dramatically in the last ten years and vegan ice cream is no exception. Today there are over 50 vegan ice cream brands and many flavors to try! We wanted to compare some of the alternative dairy ice cream options to see how well they perform against popular dairy ice cream brands in the market.

How does Gastrograph AI work?

The AI analyzed each product and assigned each a predicted Perceived Quality (PQ) score, which is a preference score based on a 7 point hedonic scale. Products that receive a score of 4 and above are generally considered competitive.

In this case 40 ice cream brands were paneled, analyzed, and assessed for best vegan ice cream and overall best ice cream. The Stack rank delineates a few non-dairy ice creams and their respective scores.

Stack rank of selected Ice Cream products

In this analysis, we were able to identify what flavors and textures consumers ages 10 to 50 would enjoy. Gastrograph AI is capable of clustering consumers by flavor preferences, also known as Preference Archetypes. This technique allows Food & Beverage companies to identify segments of the population that are predisposed to like or dislike a product.

What’s the best Non-Dairy Ice Cream?

The favorite Non-Dairy ice cream was Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Salted and Swirled Non-Dairy Frozen Dessert Ice Cream. Ben & Jerry’s launched their vegan line in 2016 after large demand from their customer base. Let’s take a look at the analysis

Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Salted and Swirled Non-Dairy Frozen Dessert Ice Cream
Figure 2: Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Ice Cream Flavor Profile

Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Salted and Swirled Non-Dairy Frozen Dessert Ice Cream held a PQ score of 4.59 out of 7. The AI noted positive strong ‘rich’ and ‘sugars’ flavors, with undesirable ‘wet’, ‘cold finish’, and ‘dairy’ flavors. The AI predicted that consumers' preference for this product would increase if there were more pronounced brown sugar and honey notes.

So Delicious Dairy Free Cashew Milk Snickerdoodle Frozen Dessert Ice Cream was another popular non-dairy ice cream that earned a 4.19 out of 7 in PQ.

So Delicious Dairy Free Cashew Milk Snickerdoodle Frozen Dessert Ice Cream
Figure 3: So Delicious Cashew Milk Ice Cream Flavor Profile

Favorable flavors such as ‘sugars’, ‘roasted’, and ‘rich’ were noted by the AI. Interestingly some of the popular dairy products paneled held some of the same positive reference notes. This non-dairy flavor held undesirable notes of ‘spices’, ‘cold finish’ and ‘dairy’ notes. The AI predicted that consumers' preference for this product would increase if there were more pronounced roasted flavors such as caramelization.

Next let’s compare these products to a dairy ice cream and see how the analysis differs.

Based on the AI’s predictions, the overall preferred ice cream for both non-dairy and dairy ice cream was Magnum’s Double Caramel Minis.

Magnum Double Caramel Minis
Figure 4: Magnum Double Caramel Minis

Magnum Double Caramel Minis held a PQ score of 4.96 out of 7 with predicted preferable notes of ‘wet’ ‘rich’ and ‘spices’. The dairy taste was strong and recognizable to panelists. The AI predicted that preference for the product would increase if there were more nuts and seeds flavors, specifically peanuts. Surprisingly, less caramel also would have increased the PQ score.

Non-dairy ice creams have proven to be a strong competitor in the ice cream and plant-based industry. Are there any flavors you are curious to try or eager to see created? If you want to make a competitive Vegan or non-dairy alternative to Ice Cream Gastograph has the tools to do so!

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