After 17 years as a plant-based brand, Coconut Bliss has added a dairy-based ice cream to its product lineup. Founded in 2005, Coconut Bliss was once ahead of its time with recognizing the power and soon-to-be popularity of plant-based dairy options. Now, rebranded as Cosmic Bliss, the brand is attempting to boost sustainable dairy with its organic, grass-fed, clean-label dairy ice cream line.
In 2020, the former Coconut Bliss Brand — which specialized in organic coconut milk-based ice cream bars, pints and sandwiches — was acquired by private holding company HumanCo. Since the acquisition, the brand has been researching the inclusion of dairy-based products into the portfolio. After realizing that 97 percent of ice cream sold in the US is dairy-based, Coconut Bliss wanted to reach that sector of consumers.
Rather than shying away from an overly saturated and potentially failing market — given that dairy sales are slumping internationally — Cosmic Bliss decided to introduce a range of organic dairy ice creams. At a time when most brands are creating plant-based versions of their existing product lines, like Ben and Jerry’s, Cosmic Bliss decided to go the opposite route by offering a dairy line that claims to be better than all others.
So, what makes it better than the plethora of dairy-based ice cream options on the market? By expanding its sustainably sourced ice creams to the dairy segment, the brand claims it will be able to achieve a better environmental impact while also providing indulgent and sustainable frozen desserts for all. However, while the company claims its grass-fed, organic ice cream is a sustainable alternative for consumers who don’t want to give up dairy, studies suggest that products from grass-fed cattle still have a far greater environmental impact than plant-based options.
Of course, economics was likely a significant factor in the decision to add dairy to the brand’s product lineup. Since more consumers are buying dairy-based ice cream, Cosmic Bliss hopes that offering a dairy line will create a larger audience for the company. The brand also claims that the new name, Cosmic Bliss, more accurately represents the “out-of-this-world taste” of both its new dairy and plant-based offerings.
While Cosmic Bliss’ plant-based ice cream flavors will remain available and come in varieties like Legendary Cookie Dough, Chocolate Peanut Butter and Sea Salt Caramel Chocolate, former Coconut Bliss customers were outraged at the brand’s decision to introduce a dairy line for profit. Hundreds of comments on the brand’s Facebook page revealed that a majority of its customers were confused and upset by the new revelation.
The brand in turn offered a lengthy response, explaining that, while its vegan products will remain a major part of its portfolio, the decision to introduce dairy is consistent with its mission. “Our decision to introduce organic, grass-fed dairy ice cream is consistent with our mission to help build a more sustainable agricultural system for everyone,” Cosmic Bliss said on Facebook.
The brand went on to explain that it wants to show dairy consumers a “better way” by offering them dairy products that “leverage sustainable agricultural practices.” “We agree that dairy isn’t for everyone, and not all people support that dietary preference,” Cosmic Bliss said in the same Facebook post. “For us, it was not about choosing one dietary preference over the other, it was about providing better options no matter what dietary preference you chose.”
Whether its customers choose to believe this statement remains to be seen, but many view Cosmic Bliss’ decision to add dairy to its product lineup as a move toward profits over progress.