Ice cream—it’s a deeply-loved and popular dessert among many, so what happens when America is becoming increasingly interested in plant-based food options? McConnell’s Fine Ice Creams faced this realization, and decided to do something that they’ve never done before—create a dairy-free line of ice creams that could meet their superior standards.
The process took about a year to get right. McConnell’s co-owner and chef, Eva Ein, finally crafted a product that would guarantee the amazing signature taste of McConnell’s ice creams while also being dairy-free. Her secret was to use pea protein.
The pea protein is made from the yellow pea, which can be found in a multitude of other vegetarian and dairy-free products. The pea base provides a neutral flavor, and rivals the texture of McConnell’s smooth and creamy, 18.5% butterfat ice creams. The dairy-free line is also lower in fat and sugar, is cholesterol-free and non-GMO.
“There’s nothing interesting or innovative about coconut cream, almond or cashew milk, or soy-based “ice creams”, says McConnell’s co-owner and CEO—and Ein’s husband—Michael Palmer, referring to the industry’s standard alternatives to dairy-based ice creams. “These are the same products that’ve been out there for years, and the results are rarely worth it.” According to Palmer, it’s difficult to rid a product of a “nut” taste when alternatives such as coconuts, almonds, or soy are used. In order to get rid of this taste, companies tend to over-flavor their products while pumping them with air and stabilizers, resulting in chalky, crumbly, and inconsistent texture. “People who crave great ice cream want to taste great ice cream, whether it’s dairy-based or not. The last thing we want to have to do is apologize for giving customers a lesser experience. They shouldn’t have to settle,” says Palmer.
The dairy-free line launches with five popular flavors, including classic Dark Chocolate Chip, Toasted Coconut Almond Chip, classic Cookies & Cream, Turkish Coffee, and Eureka Lemon & Marionberries, with more to come.
For more information about McConnell’s, visit mcconnells.com.