The Veggie Wagon, a local North Carolina family-owned produce company, launched its own brand of vegan ice cream to meet the mounting demand for plant-based and gluten-free food.
“You can make gluten-free and vegan products all day long, but the challenge is to come up with recipes that are truly delicious,” co-owner Max Sussman told news outlet Wilmington Biz. “Just because someone is vegan doesn’t mean they don’t want to enjoy a treat.”
The Veggie Wagon’s informal manifesto is to offer high-quality, in-demand food to its customers, a mantra that is echoed in the development of its vegan ice cream. “If we have to spend a little more to get the best ingredients and support other local producers and make good food, then we will do that because we believe we will eventually prosper,” Sussman added. “And if we put our best foot forward, our partners will as well and everyone wins.”
The Veggie Wagon makes its ice cream base with coconut milk, organic agave syrup, brown sugar, and sea salt. Arrowroot powder is added in precise quantities to thicken the treat. At present, its flavor offerings include some classic summer favorites: chocolate, strawberry, vanilla, and coffee – made with locally-sourced beans from Carolina Beach.
But it isn’t stopping there; The Veggie Wagon is on a mission to conquer the local vegan ice cream scene. “Now that we have perfected the base recipe, we can take what we’ve learned and incorporate more seasonal fruits throughout the year,” Sussman explained. He added that the creamy plant-based ice cream is not just for vegans. “This is definitely a treat that even non-vegans will enjoy,” he said.
Dairy-free ice cream seems to be gaining widespread consumer affinity, especially across the United States. New data said that sales of dairy milk and ice cream have plummeted by 13 percent in the U.S. in recent years. A representative from the Center for Dairy Excellence said affected dairy farmers should stick to a familiar field of work but refer their farming knowledge to crop cultivation instead of raising livestock.
Image Credit: The Veggie Wagon