Danone North America is partnering with Cold Stone Creamery to offer a new plant-based dessert: The Silk Chocolate Almondmilk Frozen Dessert. Along with the flavor launch, Cold Stone Creamery is introducing a new menu item called Don’t Cry Over Spilled Silk Creation, which features this latest flavor as well as banana, peanut butter and roasted almonds.
“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,” said Derek Neeley, vice president of marketing for Silk, Danone North America, in a press release.
The collaboration with Danone-owned Silk will allow customers who choose the dairy-free, vegan and non-GMO dessert to take part in the full Cold Stone experience by adding mix-ins like apple pie, fruit, nuts, Oreos, pretzels and sprinkles. This new plant-based dessert is available at Cold Stone locations across the country and will be a permanent fixture on the menu. The chain previously only offered vegan-friendly sorbet flavors including strawberry, pineapple, peach mango and pink lemonade.
Other foodservice brands are getting in on the plant-based dessert action. Last year, KFC China launched three varieties of Oatly non-dairy ice cream: strawberry, chocolate and a latte-flavored soft serve. And after 169 years in business, chocolate company Ghirardelli is finally offering scoops of plant-based vanilla ice cream by plant-based frozen dessert brand Coconut Bliss.
Cold Stone Creamery is the latest major ice cream chain to incorporate plant-based selections. In 2019, Baskin-Robbins, which operates 8,000 shops in 55 countries, added non-dairy Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough and Chocolate Extreme flavors to their stores, followed by oat milk-based Strawberry Streusel and Salted Fudge Bar last year. Ben & Jerry’s also offers 19 dairy-free flavors made from either a sunflower seed or almond milk base.
“Cold Stone is delighted to share our very first plant-based flavor,” said Sara Schmillen, vice president of marketing for Kahala Brands, parent company of Cold Stone Creamery, in the same press release. “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.”
The vegan dessert comes just in time for Veganuary, a movement aimed at encouraging participants to go vegan for the month of January. The move to include more plant-based dessert offerings also aligns with the growing consumer demand for plant-based products, with the popularity of plant-based milk fueling the growth of other vegan dairy categories like ice cream. According to a 2020 study conducted by Allied Market Research, the global vegan ice cream market was valued at $520.9 million in 2019 and is growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13.7 percent to reach $805.3 million by 2027.
As bigger ice cream chains like Cold Stone enter the vegan space, they join smaller brands and chains that have been innovating in the plant-based space for years. Among them is Salt & Straw, which operates 25 units primarily along the West Coast. During the month of January, the chain always features a “Vegandulgence” menu with a variety of creative flavors made from different vegan bases.