Ice cream chain Cold Stone Creamery just announced its first-ever vegan ice cream option, joining the ranks of several other cold treat companies that have started developing dairy-free options. Cold Stone’s new Silk Chocolate Almondmilk Frozen Dessert will mark the first time the brand has introduced a fully vegan ice cream. The company currently offers a variety of dairy-free sorbet flavors but has previously steered away from plant-based dairy alternatives. Now, its partnership with Silk will push the ice cream company into a new plant-based era.

The ice cream chain got its name from its signature process of mixing and folding toppings into a base ice cream on top of a frozen granite stone. With the new almond milk-based ice cream, dairy-free customers will now be able to order from Cold Stone and customize their order with add-ons and toppings, receiving the full Cold Stone experience.

“Cold Stone is delighted to share our very first plant-based flavor,” Vice President of Marketing for Cold Stone’s parent company Kahala Brands Sara Schmillen said in a statement. “We pride ourselves on our high flavor standards. It was important for us to innovate with an equally high quality and well-respected brand like Danone and their Silk Almondmilk product. As a result, our new Silk Chocolate Almondmilk Frozen Dessert delivers on a true ice cream experience—but not made with any dairy product. Plant-based has never tasted so good. We know our guests will agree.”

Cold Stone will also introduce a composed menu item that features the new almond-based milk at 931 stores nationwide. The menu item will showcase the potential of its new plant-based ice cream option, giving customers a chance to try the new Silk and Cold Stone collaboration. The Don’t Cry Over Spilled Silk will combine the chocolate vegan ice cream with peanut butter, bananas, and roasted almonds.

Alongside the newly composed menu item, Cold Stone offers a wide selection of vegan toppings and customers can be guaranteed a vegan-friendly sugar cone option. The company’s mix-in selection includes plant-based ingredients such as fresh fruit, nuts, sprinkles, pretzels, Oreo cookie crumbles, and pie fillings.

Cold Stone’s move to introduce dairy-free ice cream options coincides with a rising vegan ice cream market. More consumers than ever before are looking for plant-based ice cream options as concerns such as lactose intolerance, sustainability, and others encourage consumers to ditch dairy. The global ice cream market is expected to reach $805 million by 2027, according to an Allied Market Research report. The projected value is fueled by both changing consumer interest and widespread company innovation.

Silk’s parent company Danone continues to make strides in its plant-based sector. The international food giant is consistently working across several food categories to develop vegan or dairy-free options for the rising plant-based consumer base. Most recently, the company announced that it would convert an entire dairy plant into an oat milk factory. Costing $49 million, Danone is investing significant capital into its plant-based expansion, especially as it enters the foodservice market with its Cold Stone partnership.

“We’re absolutely thrilled that Cold Stone Creamery chose to work with Danone North America and the Silk brand to bring the ice cream parlor’s first-ever plant-based frozen dessert to Cold Stone customers,” Vice President of Marketing for Silk at Danone North America Derek Neeley said in a statement. “Cold Stone’s creativity and leadership in frozen desserts paired with our expertise in plant-based dairy alternatives and strong track record of delivering great taste and texture is a powerful combination for bringing a delicious, plant-based dessert collaboration to frozen treat lovers across the country.”

Cold Stone is following the lead of several other ice cream giants including Ben & Jerry’s and Baskin-Robbins. Ben & Jerry’s now offers 19 dairy-free flavors made from either a sunflower seed or almond milk base. Baskin-Robbins made history when it became the first major ice cream chain to launch an oat milk-based ice cream nationwide. The company revealed a Non-Dairy Strawberry Streusel complete with an oat milk-base, fresh strawberries, cinnamon granola, and vegan streusel. The company then shifted its attention to the more dairy-free option, introducing a Non-Dairy Salted Fudge Bar last year.

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