After noting the direction of the industry and listening to feedback from their customers, Alden’s decided to offer non-dairy ice cream alternatives in the interest of being a total dessert company. They exhibited at the Specialty Food Association’s Winter Fancy Food show in San Francisco this week, where they sampled the vegan options for the first time.
Kim Berry, brand director at Alden’s, told DairyReporter that the finished products are made with the 29th rendition of the non-dairy formula. The commitment was, “If we’re going to do this, we’re going to do it the Alden’s way.”
All of Alden’s products are certified organic and non-GMO.
The non-dairy base is a four-source blend of brown rice, pea protein, coconut oil and oat flour. Alden’s said that they tested many blends infused with different flavors and ingredients before settling on this, as it best neutralizes the taste.
“We’re trying to make the ice cream irresistible for all. You don’t have to leave the brand to find those other options, we want to be the ice cream that satisfies all those needs,” Berry said.
For dairy alternatives using single plant bases, like almond or oat, there is always a risk that the end product will have the distinct almond or oat taste and aftertaste, according to Berry. But Alden’s wanted their flavors to blend in more seamlessly to mimic dairy ice cream.
“Those single-element type bases, absolutely there’s room for that. There is a need for that, but the consumers are feeling that they still have to make a compromise,” Berry said.
Committing fully to flavor innovation
The first seven vegan pint flavors are Dairy Free Caramel Almond Crunch, Muddy Brownie, Vanilla Bean, Double Strawberry, Freckled Mint Chip, Peanut Butter Chip and Cookie Crumble. There are also two sandwich flavors, the Dairy Free Vanilla Bean Round Sammie and Caramel Drizzle Round Sammie.
The company wanted to fully commit in the vegan space, and develop enough products to fill a designated shelf in retail, for both the ‘dairy-free committed and dairy-free curious.’
Joelle Simmons, SVP of sales and marketing at Alden’s, said, “Consumers are craving a dairy-free option that actually delivers an exceptional flavor filled experience. We saw an opportunity and worked through 29 variations to develop a more progressive, organic dairy-free recipe that upholds the high standards of our famous ice cream.”
In its dairy ice cream, Alden’s sells pints, tubs, sandwiches and bars. In particular, their novelty products have been growing quickly.
At Winter Fancy Food, Alden’s launched three new dairy pint flavors - Peachy Keen Twist, Ooey Gooey Brownie and Old Fashioned Vanilla.
All the new SKUs will launch first in Sprouts grocery stores and National Co+Op Grocers in March. Its existing products are available at more than 10,000 natural, specialty and traditional stores across the US.