On hot summer days, there is nothing more refreshing than a cold treat, and Shake Shack just announced that it plans to ensure that plant-based Americans escape the scorching summer heat with vegan milkshakes. The major fast-food chain just announced that it will be testing its first dairy-free milkshakes and frozen custards at 10 locations in South Florida and New York. This limited-time trial will showcase the company’s recent partnership with The Not Company (NotCo) to bring non-dairy specialties to Shake Shack Menus nationwide.

Developed using NotCo’s proprietary artificial intelligence platform known as “Guiseppe,” Shake Shack will feature a Non-Dairy Chocolate Custard and NonDairy Chocolate Shake starting this summer. NotCo’s AI platform examines the molecular structures of animal products to better replicate the structure of plant-based alternatives. The platform draws its information from a database of more than 300,000 plants to design the perfect recipe for vegan substitutes.

“We have been looking at the plant-based space for a while and are so excited to be partnering with an innovative food-tech leader such as NotCo,” Senior Vice President of Supply Chain and Menu Innovation at Shake Shack Jeff Amoscato said in a statement. “Non-dairy custard and shakes have been something our guests have wanted and we are looking forward to seeing where this test takes us.”

This partnership marks the first time that NotCo’s signature milk replacements will enter the United States foodservice sector. The company made its retail debut in 2020, and even started distributing its Not Milk to Starbucks locations in Mexico, but finally, Americans will be able to taste the potential of this AI-designed milk alternative. The limited-time trial will occur at the Garden Mall, Miami Beach, Winter Park, The Fall Carol Gables, Astor Place, Harlem, Midtown East, Upper East Side, and Battery Park City locations.

NotCo’s Rise to Fame

Before arriving at Whole Foods Markets on World Vegan Day in 2020, NotCo’s signature Not Milk gained widespread popularity in South America. The company has rapidly expanded to include partnerships with Starbucks and even most recently, The Kraft Heinz Company – forming a joint venture called the Kraft Heinz Not Company. Currently, this joint venture has not announced any future projects, there is speculation that NotCo will help the major food brand replicate some of its signature products with Guiseppe.

NotCo gained the attention of several celebrity investors including Questlove and Formula One Racer Lewis Hamilton. During the company’s Series D funding round, these celebrities helped the company secure $235 million dollars, propelling NotCo’s total value to $1.5 billion. With that money, the company revealed it planned to expand into the North American market. Now, the company will kick off its food service path with Shake Shack.

“Shake Shack is a brand that I’ve always loved and grew up enjoying,” CEO and Co-Founder of NotCo Matias Muchnick said in a statement. “Their food is unfussy, consistently delicious, and high quality. In a way, Shake Shack has created the perfect blueprint for what we want to emulate with our plant-based foods, and we’re so excited to be kicking off this journey into food service with their team.”

Shake Shack’s Vegan Enterprises

Last April, Shake Shack dipped into the vegan world with the help of famous Atlanta entrepreneur Pinky Cole. Teaming up with Cole’s Slutty Vegan, Shake Shack debuted a vegan burger during its “Now Serving” collection called the “SluttyShack.” The burger consists of a veggie patty, lemon ginger kale, caramelized onions, vegan ranch, and vegan mayo, topped with Pinky’s secret Slut Dust. This partnership sparked a long-term relationship between Cole and Shake Shack founder Danny Meyer.

This month, Meyer’s Enlightened Hospitality Investments helped Slutty Vegan secure $25 million during the company’s Series A funding round. With the help of social commerce giant Richelieu Denni’s New Voices Fund, the investment will help Cole expand the Slutty Vegan brand to 20 additional storefronts by the end of 2023.

“I had never seen vegan food presented in such a fun way,” Meyer told Forbes. “Leaders are often defined by the degree to which people want to follow them, and I saw people following the leader.”

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