NEW YORK — Nice cream: It’s what they call vegan ice cream. But with creamier bases and more interesting flavors, it’s not just for vegans anymore.
Dairy-free ice cream options have come a long way thanks in part to meat-eating folk looking to avoid dairy or just make healthier choices without defaulting to sorbet, the usual substitute.
Though banana is a popular base for vegan ice cream, so are nut butters, rice, soy and even hemp milk. Whatever the base, the texture and quality of ingredients are giving the products a higher profile, both in scoop shops and on grocery shelves.
“I love, love, love ice cream but I can’t eat it every day, you know,” said meat-eater Alexis Druyan, 24, on a recent stop at Chloe’s Soft Serve Fruit Co., a scoop shop in Manhattan’s bustling Union Square. “If I want to be healthy, I definitely come here for dessert.”
The Instagram-worthy neon light banana on Chloe’s wall says it all: Started by a fro-yo addict looking for a healthier choice, the shop uses only fruit, water and a touch of organic cane sugar to blend up creamy frozen treats like dark chocolate and pumpkin. Chloe’s opened its first shop in 2010, and now sells frozen pops in supermarkets and to hospitals, schools and hotels.
“The vegan thought process and connotation has changed over the last seven years,” said Michael Sloan, CEO and co-founder of Chloe’s. “When we first opened and something was vegan, it couldn’t be good, and now I think we’ve helped explain that food can be delicious and oh, by the way, it’s vegan. We used to hide that we were vegan or say it just for the…
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