With summer around the corner, the first thing that comes to my mind is ice-cream!
Pear, blue cheese, honey or lavender ice cream anyone?
Yes, you heard that correctly, a growing number of ice cream brands are creating new innovative flavors that reach far beyond the traditional favorites such as butterscotch, vanilla or chocolate.
There’s also a trend toward healthful indulgence in the ice cream segment. Incorporating probiotics into ice creams in one such way that brands are looking at extending this category to help in digestion, improve immunity and fight against allergic reactions.
Studies also indicate that ice cream is a good matrix for the addition of functional ingredients as well as probiotics vs other matrices, for example, probiotic cakes are not that easy to make.
But what about those that are lactose intolerant (which we now know is a significant number in the US) or have other dairy allergies?
Brands have gone one step forward and have changed the base of the ice cream to cater to people who are dairy intolerant. Companies are now using chickpeas, tahini, oat milk, and even avocado instead of dairy in their ice creams. An increasing number of brands are also creating vegan, gluten-free, and soy-free ice cream options on the market.
With sustainability becoming top of mind for all businesses, ice cream companies are also getting on board and looking at making it more healthy and functional indulgence. While many brands are working to source their ingredients locally, some are using more environmentally friendly packaging.
Unilever brand Solero is already testing a new box that uses 35% less plastic and has separate sections for its ice cream bars as a replacement to wrapping each one in plastic. Ice-cream manufacturers are also in the process of developing biodegradable and plastic-free packaging solutions in an effort to reduce waste.