President / CEO
Here are some facts:
The "trend" is Dairy Free Ice Cream!
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Millennials (roughly ages 24-39) are the single largest group of people to ever come along. They are the children of us Baby Boomers and a bit younger. They have and will have far more buying power than us Baby Boomers - until now the largest money group. Yes, I told all the same Millennial jokes too....."I moved to Florida so that my 4 Millennials couldn't come back home and live in my basement (Florida homes don't have basements)." But to ignore this group you do so at your peril.
Millennials spend money differently. We used to buy a gallon jug of Boons Farm white wine for the weekend. My Millennial children will spend all week deciding which brand and vintage of a $38.00 Bordeaux to buy for Saturday night. One bottle! They want everything to be fresh, natural, locally sourced, gluten free and on and on and on. I don't know where they got it, but Millennials have a LOT of money to spend! Repeat....a lot of money to SPEND.
So, why are so many companies suddenly taking notice of the vegan ice cream market? It might have something to do with a recent study by Packaged Facts, which revealed that “free form” frozen desserts (including rebels like vegan ice cream) are one of the key products that are driving the U.S. ice cream industry towards a $28 billion market. And according to David Sprinkle, a researcher for Packaged Facts, “Ice cream and frozen novelties remain among the top ten food categories in supermarkets. More than 85 percent of U.S. household use ice cream or sherbet.” - Kat Smith, "Talenti Just Released a Dairy-Free Gelato", One Green Planet, March 30, 2017
Gary, close your ears,, I know you don't want to hear this and YES I know the term "Dairy Free" is flat out illegal... though I don't think a couple of black Chevy Suburbans are going to drive up to your door and haul you off to some CIA black site in Istanbul.
I would like to discuss with you a very strong trend that I see coming. I have studied fads and trends for all my time in the frozen dessert business. Lots of fads and the occasional trend. I won't mention any fads here because there will be someone who has made gazillions of dollars on a fad and is insulted by my insinuation that what they do is a fad. I want to talk about a UGE trend based on all the hundreds of phone calls I take on a regular basis.
Millennials don't like Milk. They use soy in their coffee. They think ice cream is unhealthy. Poor souls. They feel ice cream should be Dairy Free. The old term is vegan. But "vegan" has such negative connotations. You have to admit "dairy free Ice Cream" has a nicer ring to it than Vegan...ugh.
So what do we the purveyors of all things frozen dessert do?? I say adapt or perish. Well, maybe not that harsh. How about we look into a way to attract these individuals to our ice cream parlors with a FEW dairy free ice creams!
This week Nate O'Donnell (VP sales and marketing) came down to my Florida factories withMAMIS powdered mix for the production of vegan gelato (ice cream) AKA Dairy Free Ice Cream and we ran a bunch of batches. Mami's pronounced Mommy's is the brain child of Naomi Posner a member of Ice Cream Folks. I have never met Naomi and except from a few replies to posts at this site and I have not yet had the pleasure of talking to her. So trust me, this is not a paid infomercial. This is the best non dairy product I have ever used. I have been adding how to make "dairy free ice cream" You Tube videos to my 261 free videos at my site... but none of them came out as good as using the Mami's. Nate and I made Vanilla, coffee, German Chocolate and Oreo cookie. All were smooth, creamy and had the very pleasant taste of coconut. Also, it scoops beautifully at hard ice cream temperatures so you don't need a separate freezer cabinet just for Dairy Free.
So, before Gary and Malcolm (where's Malcolm) start screaming that it's an illegal product because of the name (dairy free), put aside your dairy prejudices and start thinking with your cash register. This stuff is great and it's going to make you a lot of money and bring in a whole generation that is one day going to rule the world...whether we like it or not.
Featured Dairy-Free Ice Cream Videos
Response from Mami's Vegan Gelato...
"Steve (Thompson) - Thank you for your unexpected and generous support of Mami's Vegan Gelato. Why "vegan" and not "dairy-free"? We use both terms, but when you just say "dairy-free", inevitably someone will ask if it has eggs in it. "Dairy-free" does not cover that. "Vegan" does."
We make it easy.
It's gratifying to hear that others are discovering the need to sell vegan options to their customers. Our products make it easy. Not everyone has the time or inclination to develop their own dairy-free options. We have developed a system that allows you to make it quickly, easily and consistently over and over again.
Coconut taste. We sell and have sampled our gelato all over the country. Only 1 in 20 are dismissive of the coconut flavor. Most people either like it or don't notice it. It may sound crazy not to notice the taste of coconut, but people who do not eat dairy have a different palette. I noticed this myself. I didn't eat dairy for many years, then I started to again and milk had an extremely obvious taste that I hadn't noticed before. The same for coconut. Eat it enough and the flavor fades into the background.
Other mixes. We are in the process of finalizing non-coconut mixes such as soy, almond and cashew. We also have hot drink mixes such as green tea latte, hot drinking chocolate, chai latte - all vegan, all dairy-free, all gluten-free. We also have a line of vegan bubble-tea mixes.
Animal cruelty. A big reason millennials don't like milk is because they are all on social media and have seen the videos on the cruel treatment of animals. They want no part of it. They are also concerned about climate change. In other words, it's not just about health and diet. It's about social issues that concern them. I think this is why goat cheese and goat milk are now popular. Less cruelty. Less impact on the environment.
Texture and smoothness. We are constantly improving our products due in part to customer feedback. The reason it is smooth and easy to scoop is because it is scientifically formulated to be that way. I first had to learn all about dairy mixes and formulation in order to then apply the principles to dairy-free formulations. When we first started, there were no scientists working on dairy-free formulations. So I had to experiment and formulate on my own until I figured out how to make a creamy, smooth and delicious products.
Compete with Vegan-only ice cream shops.We don't want dairy ice cream shops to go out of business. We support you! That's why we offer something that will allow you to compete with the vegan shops that are starting to go up. If you have dairy and vegan, you can satisfy everyone. I agree that veganism is the wave of the future, but the future isn't here yet, so I don't blame shops for wanting to keep their dairy customers happy. The best way to do that is to add vegan options so that an entire family can come to your shop and find something. Every family and group now has at least a couple of people who prefer vegan options. To deny this is to deny facts.
Flavors. We have at least 40 flavors that we can teach you how to make. Yes FORTY. And, our customers keep developing more. The options are limitless!
Consultation. For those of you who are already making dairy-free ice cream, we may be able to help you improve your formulas. We also offer consultation on dairy mix questions. We used to do it for free, but have now started charging due to the increasing number of referrals that we are getting. Just give us a call if you have a question!
Videos. Steve Thompson was kind enough to make videos with Nate (our VP of sales and marketing) making our gelato. They will be available soon on YouTube with links on our website. You can see for yourself how easy it is to make.
Wholesale and larger volume shops. If you have pasteurization equipment and/or are willing to buy it and would like to wholesale vegan products (also a huge opportunity), we have commercial mixes and formulas available at steep discounts. If you want to open up a vegan-only shop, we can help you do that also. You can directly compete with FOMU and other similar shops. You'll be able to offer coconut, soy, almond and other bases. Just give us a call to find out how we can help set you up to be the first vegan-only "ice cream" store in your area.