Soft Serve can be for everyone!
Vegan – noun / a person who does not eat or use animal products
We all know that soft serve ice cream is usually made from dairy products (the clue’s in the name) but over the past few years consumers have started to change their eating habits and the ice cream industry has tried to keep pace. The development of healthier options like tart frozen yogurt, which typically has half the calories compared to regular soft ice cream, was the starting point but now, with the rapid rise in popularity of veganism, ingredients manufacturers have actively developed ‘ice cream and gelato’ products to cater specifically for the growing vegan market.
So whether you choose to be a vegan for ethical reasons, you’re simply in the quest for a healthier lifestyle or you just happen to be lactose intolerant, sweet treats like ice cream don’t necessarily need to be out of bounds anymore…
Lets be upfront, vegan soft serve isn’t necessarily ‘healthy’. For products to freeze correctly in a soft serve freezer they need to contain a percentage of sugar and structural stabilisers (or some form of weird chemical that does the same thing) to suppress the freezing temperature. This prevents the product from stetting like concrete and allows it to flow from the machine as you would expect soft serve to do so without the product breaking down too quickly.
The development of plant based or synthetic stabilisers like; Carrageenan (extracted from seaweed), Locust Bean & Guar gum (which come from plants in the pea family) and Xanthan gum (a synthetic combination of saccharides glucose, mannose, and glucuronic acid) have eliminated the need to use animal based stabilisers like gelatine, albumen (eggs), dairy based proteins and the like. This means that these days, most fruit based sorbets can easily be vegan. The combination of water, fruit, sugar and plant based stabilisers don’t contain any animal products.
Water based products tend to lack the rich, creamy texture of dairy based products due to the lack of dairy fats and proteins. The growth in availability of plant based ‘milks’ has provided a great alternative to dairy. Almond, rice and soy milks are the obvious option as their composition resembles regular cows milk in protein content and sometimes fat. This means that they can be used as the base for vegan ‘ice cream’ products quite easily. Most ingredients suppliers have basic sorbet recipes using plant based stabilisers which can be adapted to use plant milks instead of water as the base creating a finished product that’s as close to conventional ice cream as possible.
The down side to plant based milks, especially those which are nut based, is cost. A litre carton of almond milk is typically four times the price of a litre of regular cows milk but as demand for dairy alternatives grows, this price will no doubt come down.
If you want to start serving vegan soft serve in your business, there’s a number of ready to go powdered products on the market which are simply dissolved in either water or a plant based milk of your choice. Some are better than others. The high soy content of some products can make the finished product taste a little like a protein shake opposed to a sweet treat but that’s a decision based on personal taste and you may like that…
Some ready to go powdered products which we know work in a Taylor Soft Serve machine are:
Vegan Soft Serve from Vegan Antics Ltd – this is simply dissolved in warm water, then allowed to cool before pouring it into the hopper of your Taylor Soft Serve Freezer. This product is a great neutral base and lends itself to being flavoured. If you increase the dilution of this product, it makes a great vegan shake product ideal for the Taylor 430 frozen drinks freezer. Click HERE to visit their website >>>
Base Vegana ‘The Vegan Gelato’ by Comprital – this a pre-prepared powdered product which simply dissolves in water or a plant based milk to create a soft serve which is as close to regular soft serve as possible. Comprital also produce a wide range of flavours and ripples which can be added to the Base Vegana to make a variety of different flavour combinations. Click HERE to visit their website >>>
Base Vegan by PreGel – this vegan base mix is simply dissolved in warm water. It forms a plain base which can easily be flavoured or used as a neutral platform for desserts or blended into shakes. Click HERE to visit their website >>>
Contact the team at Taylor UK to find out more about serving a vegan soft serve product in your restaurant, cafe or convenience store…
Freephone: 0800 838 896