Nondairy Goes Mainstream

New kind of ice cream in four flavors gets a taste test in Houston as summer alternative

New kind of ice cream in four flavors gets a taste test in Houston

Blue Bunny vegan ice cream
Blue Bunny is testing vegan ice cream. Photo courtesy of Wells/Blue Bunny

Blue Bunny, one of the nation's biggest ice cream makers, is testing a line of nondairy vegan ice cream in five cities, and Dallas and Houston are on the list.

The line includes four flavors — vanilla, chocolate, mint chocolate chip and mocha fudge — and can be found at all Kroger stores in Dallas and Houston. It's also being sold in Denver, Omaha and Des Moines.

Company spokeswoman Deanna Dugo says the new ice cream reflects a nationwide trend. "In the current climate, nondairy alternatives are huge, whether it's a sensitivity or with more people becoming vegan," she says.

The ice creams are made with almond milk, and they are cholesterol- and lactose-free. "Almond milk has become a big thing," Dugo says. "This means you can eat ice cream even if you don't do dairy."

They run from 150 to 180 calories per serving — typical for supermarket-style ice cream — with 6 to 8 grams of fat, also typical. They provide 20 percent of the recommended daily allotment of calcium, which is higher than most regular ice cream.

Nondairy ice cream is common at natural-food stores like Sprouts and Whole Foods Markets, who devote half their freezer case to nondairy, but it says something when it's a mainstream company like Blue Bunny. Ben & Jerry's also recently announced that it will start selling vegan ice cream in 2016.

With Texas-based Blue Bell still down following a recall of its products in April after an outbreak of listeria, the timing is good for Blue Bunny to add something new to the freezer case, especially in these parts, says Kroger spokesman Gary Huddleston.