Milk- and Dairy Alternatives

Ben & Jerry’s Announces Major Shift to Oat Based Formula

Ben & Jerry’s, headquartered in Vermont, announces it will shift its non-dairy ice creams to an oat-based formula, with most of its range til now being produced with almond milk.

The nearly 20 existing non-dairy flavors in pints and scoop shops will make the switch to oat by Spring 2024, beginning with Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough and Chocolate Fudge Brownie.

“The oat recipe is so good, it’s even loved by our most discerning dairy fans who are used to eating ice cream”

Current non-dairy flavors like Lights! Caramel! Action! and Oatmeal Dream Pie feature almond or sunflower butter bases, which will switch to oat to offer a “smoother texture, allowing flavors like chocolate, decadent caramel, mint, and rich vanilla to shine as intended,” and creating more suitability for consumers that suffer from nut allergies.

Ben & Jerry's transitions to oat base
©Ben & Jerry’s

The benefits of oats

Consumer preference in dairy alternatives has been towards oat products in recent years among both vegan and flexitarian consumers, who have been aware of the sustainability benefits of oats over almonds for a number of years. Oats offer a creamy texture and a low calorie count as well as being attractive to those with gluten- and nut-free diets. According to Research and Markets, the global oat milk market is expected to be worth $6.45Bn by 2028, growing at a CAGR of 14.8%. 

As described here in a 2021 vegconomist report by David Peters, founder of Oatworks and former Head of Oatly UK, the humble oat became nothing short of an overnight success story, seeing a meteoric rise to success from around 2020 onwards during the arrival of the third generation of oat milk products. Owing to their “relatively neutral taste and low cost, oats are easily incorporated into many applications, making them a highly versatile ingredient. [They] provide genuine functional benefits, such as imparting a creaminess in dairy alternatives or facilitating an EFSA- or FDA-approved health claim.”

Says Ben & Jerry’s Flavor Guru Colleen Rossell on the ingredient transition, “With this new recipe, Ben & Jerry’s fans can expect more: more flavor, more creamy texture and more dessert euphoria with the same signature chunks and swirls. The oat recipe is so good, it’s even loved by our most discerning dairy fans who are used to eating ice cream.”

The new Non-Dairy pints will be available in participating scoop shops and in grocery and convenience stores across the United States at an MSRP of $5.99-6.49.

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