“I Tried Shake Shack’s Plant-Based, Non-Dairy Milkshake. Here’s the Scoop!”
When you are avoiding eating dairy, and instead are trying to be plant-based, as I am, there are only a few things you miss. One of those is milkshakes. So when I heard that Shake Shack was introducing a vegan milkshake made out of 100 percent plant-based ingredients, made with NotCo non-dairy Milk and dairy-free Icecream, I leaped at the chance to try it. (Tough job, I know, but someone's gotta do it.)
I jumped into my sneaks and ran out of the house, and up to my local Shake Shack at 86th Street and Lexington Avenue, in New York City, with Bonnie the beautiful sheepdog in tow.
Shake Shack Now Has Vegan Milkshakes in Partnership With NotCo
Here is what I thought and whether I would recommend this plant-based shake to others.
First of all, Shake Shack was busy! The popular destination had drawn a diverse group of New Yorkers of all ages and from all walks of life, including a half-dozen schoolkids grabbing an after-school snack, a couple of men in hard hats, and a spiffy-looking elderly man in a wheelchair with a fedora, waiting for his order patiently, his female companion at his side. The crowd spanned from ages 2 to 82, by the looks of it.
Upon ordering, I asked the young woman who beckoned me to the counter, "I'll have the plant-based shake. But, are you sure all the ingredients are vegan?" At this, the helpful young woman said: "Let me check!" and she disappeared from behind the register for a brief instant, to go ask. In a few seconds, she came back, and cheerfully reported: "Yes! Everything in it is 100 percent plant-based!" I ordered a chocolate shake, glanced over at the menu board and saw that it had 695 calories, and decided to skip the veggie burger and fries.
How the Shake Shack Vegan Milkshake Tastes
We paid our $7.17 (including tax) and went outside on the bright spring day to sit down and wait at one of the metal and wooden tables in the courtyard and had very little time to check our email before my name was called!. In less than a minute, I heard "Lucy!" and was handed a large, cold, heavy white cup brimming with a chocolate shake.
The best sign that this milkshake would not disappoint was when I submerged the wide paper straw into the shake and it took a little work to get it to pass into the thick texture, which actually resisted! The plant-based shake appeared so thick that the straw stood up in the middle, on its own, surrounded by an icy chocolate mixture that promised a legitimately chocolate shake taste. It did not disappoint!
One sip and I was back to my childhood. We used to have these chocolate milkshakes after a day at the pool when my mom would let each of us kids have "one treat" a day, and I chose this. After swimming, diving, and a rousing game of Marco Polo, we never thought about calories, but instead were completely depleted and the milkshake was a way of quieting us down for the car ride home. So for me, a chocolate milkshake says: "Summer," and spending time outside, and enjoying one's food without guilt or recrimination.
So that's what I decided when I did more than just "taste test" this shake. I sipped it down, one thick, smooth, chocolatey straw full at a time. As I walked toward home, sipping and relaxing and luxuriating in my "one treat" I decided that the calories were beside the point. What mattered was the joy and taste treat that this vegan, dairy-free milkshake offered.
Shake Shack and NotCo Team Up for a Vegan Milkshake
For context, NotCo is a Chilean-based company with investors that include Roger Feder, Questlove, and Lewis Hamilton. Their non-dairy milk is made from a blend of pea protein with taste notes of cabbage and pineapple (which you can't taste) and smoothness from sunflower oil (also not perceptible). NotCo milk has no transfat, no cholesterol, only 4 grams of carbs per cup, and 4 grams of protein.
NotCo recently announced a partnership with Kraft Heins, to bring out vegan versions of some of the American food giant's most popular products, including Lunchables. When news hits that Lunchables will introduce a vegan option, it struck a sentimental chord with a generation raised on the boxes, something the company is counting on.
The new Shake Shack vegan milkshake is likely to appeal to Millennials and Gen Z generations, who shop with a mindful eye to sustainability and health, which is driving big legacy companies like Kraft and Nestle to introduce new plant-based alternatives for their most beloved products. A recent study found that 55 percent of consumers shop with the sustainability of their food in mind.
Where Can You Find Shake Shack's Vegan Milkshake?
For more delicious dairy-free ice creams, check out our Beet Meter for the best dairy-free ice creams taste-tested by tough critics: kids!