Alternative ice creams are summer’s coolest food trend. Whether you’re cutting back on dairy or sugar, trying to get more fruits and vegetables into your diet, or seeking to boost your protein intake, there seems to be an ice-cold treat to serve everyone’s needs and requirements, without compromising on great taste.

Plus, as consumer investment in health and wellbeing has only grown during the COVID-19 pandemic, ice cream manufacturers are increasingly seeking to provide their target audience with a guilt-free alternative to the traditionally sugary and fat-laden product.

Counting calories
With refined sugar being well known as a source of empty calories that offers little in terms of nutrition, foods with added sugar have become synonymous with unhealthy decisions. Health conscious consumers are now paying more attention than ever before to the sugar and calorie levels of the food they consume, and they want these metrics to be clearly communicated. In fact, a recent study found that 57% of consumers look at nutrition labels for sugar content, and 45% of adults look for information on calories. Added sugar can be swapped with artificial sweeteners, but manufacturers should remember that consumers are now seeking more label-friendly products: ‘simple’ formulations with ‘natural’ ingredients.

Naturally sweet, real fruit and veg ingredients have the potential to be the best replacement for the refined sweet stuff. One low-calorie ice cream brand that is using the real sweetness of fruit as opposed to added sugar is Dutch brand Melt. Their strawberry cheesecake ice cream has a swirl of real strawberry sauce in it, with only 342 calories per tub. Meanwhile, Oppo’s ‘Simply the Zest’ ice-cream has just 313 calories per tub, and is made with real lemon juice, fresh lemon zest and apple fruit extract.

Refreshment with real fruit and vegetables
Other ice cream brands such as Snow Monkey have also jumped on the real fruit and veg hype. For their Acai Berry flavoured ice cream, sweetness has been achieved with a refreshing mixture of banana puree, apple puree concentrate, and mixed berry juice including blueberries and blackberries. With the final product tasting like a smoothie bowl, it provides the ultimate alternative to a high-calorie, sugary dessert. Similarly, the Hakuna Banana brand utilises – no surprises here – banana puree to sweeten the ice cream, with flavours including choco choco chip and blueberry.

Ice cream start-up Peekaboo have created a formulation that is filled with vegetable ingredients to deliver both sweetness and added health benefits. Their cotton candy flavour delivers sugariness through the addition of beetroot, vanilla and courgette for a sweet, smoky flavour. Peekaboo is seeking to attract both children and adults who want ‘guilt-free indulgence’.

Luxurious healthiness

At the same time, the appetite for high-end, indulgent ice creams shows no signs of slowing down, and the good news for manufacturers is that if the ice cream is ethically sourced and tastes great, consumers are willing to pay a premium for it.

Although caramel and chocolate still account for more than 30% of new product launches in the first half of 2019 in Europe and USA , fruit is slowly but surely working its way to the top of the category. For example, Häagen-Dazs has targeted the luxury market by incorporating a ‘unique blend’ of pure fruit juice and real fruit pieces into their new ‘Fruit Obsessions’ range. Flavours include White Peach & Raspberry and Lemon & Mandarin, with the fruit adding a healthier sweetness while still being a decadent treat.

Nutritious and delicious
Unlock new opportunities in ice cream with SVZ’s range of vibrant, nutrient-dense fruit and vegetable purees and concentrates. By harnessing the natural sweetness and refreshment of real fruit ingredients, customers can enjoy vibrant flavours without compromising on their broader wellbeing goals. Get in touch today to discover more about the possibilities of our ingredients, and how they can transform your iced offering for the more health conscious consumer.

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