Summer Fancy Food Show

Vêsucré’s recipe for creamy, clean-label vegan desserts: neurodivergent employees + simple ingredients

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By Elizabeth Crawford

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Fancy Food Show

Crafted by a neurodivergent team with special skills for consumers with special diets in a facility where nothing goes to waste, startup Vêsucré is bringing to market decadent vegan desserts that are free from soy, gluten and refined sugar.

“Our Plant de Crème, and that is our signature dessert, is like a cross between ice cream and crème brûlée. So, it is creamy on the bottom of the cup and crunchy on the top for texture,” Sarah Hartmann, CEO and Founder of Vêsucré, told FoodNavigator-USA.

She explained at the Summer Fancy Food Show in New York City that the base of the Plant de Crème is a “first-to-market formula,” that blends oats, sesame and dates to create a rich texture and flavor that she said is unmatched in the non-dairy frozen dessert set.

The dessert’s creamy mouthfeel comes from the sesame – not gums or thickeners – which means the product is clean-label – another differentiator for the brand in the plant-based dessert category, said Hartmann. She adds the company’s “top secret” process allows the sesame to either feature prominently in the flavor profile or go almost undetected. 

Also, because the product uses dates instead of refined sugar, consumers will not have the same kind of sugar high and crash they might from other sweets. 

The treat comes in four flavors, including the “OG” toffee crunch, which is “rich and buttery on the bottom and then crunchy on top,” an espresso brownie that is made with leftover oats from making the oat milk base, a turmeric ginger that recalls holidays and a rich, but accessible milk chocolate that is “great for kids and also folks who are plant-based curious” and need a familiar entry point.

‘The most special thing about Vêsucré is that the majority of our workers [have] … neuro-diversities’

More than the company’s secret process, clean label or range of rich flavors, Hartmann said what sets Vêsucré apart from competitors is the team who makes it.

“The most special thing about Vêsucré is that the majority of our workers are local individuals with neuro-diversities, meaning they have intellectual or developmental disabilities,” she explained.

“Our very first intern is a young woman named Gwen, who actually has now been promoted to operations associate. She is severely disabled, and when she came about she said, ‘I do not really like texture in my dessert. Is there any way we can just do a plain chocolate flavor?’ And I said, ‘Sure, but you are going to develop it,’” Hartman recalled.

Four rounds of testing later and Vêsucré’s award-winning milk chocolate was created.

Plant-based beyond center of the plate

Vêsucré is launching at a time when buyers are less enthusiastic about plant-based options, but Hartmann says her dessert fills an unmet need in the plant-based space for protein-packed options beyond meat alternatives.

“Vêsucré is actually packed with protein – 10 grams in one serving. And I think that is … a takeaway from this discussion for me would be that we find our protein in other sources – it does not have to be a meat substitute. We are finding innovative new ways to take things like sesame, like oats and unique combinations, and really maximizing the protein,” she explained.

She added: “We are thinking differently and we are putting something into people’s hands and into their mouths that there is no compromising on taste, and if I may borrow from my dad, the first time he tasted he said, ‘This does not even taste vegan.’”


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