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Summer wouldn’t be complete without ice cream, but what happens when you’re lactose intolerant or vegan?
Ice cream alternatives, including those made from soy or almond milk, are becoming increasingly popular. This is good news for the more than seven million Canadians who are lactose intolerant and the 2.3 per cent who are vegan.
But just like lactose-free cheese, not all ice cream alternatives are created equal.
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The Smart Living team at Global News taste-tested popular ice cream alternatives that are available in most grocery stores across the country. We evaluated products based on their texture, taste and how close they are to “real” ice cream.
Here are which ones are worth your money, and which deserve to stay in the freezer.
BEST: President’s Choice coconut milk chocolate frozen dessert
Available at: Loblaws, Fortinos and othersPrice: $5.99Product specialty: Dairy-free, plant-basedFirst thoughts: It looks like regular ice cream! Fairly easy to scoop and has a nice creamy texture.Does it taste like “real” ice cream?: For the most part, yes. The chocolate flavour was delicious and wasn’t overly sweet. The dessert had a good consistency. We were all big fans of this and felt it was the best of the products we tried.Would we buy it?: Yes, yes, yes.Score out of 5: 5
READ MORE: Lactose-free cheeses review: Do they taste like the real thing?
2. Natrel lactose-free maple ice cream
Available at: Loblaws, Fortinos, Metro and othersPrice: $4.99Product specialty: Lactose-freeFirst thoughts: This ice cream smells delicious and like real maple. It was easy to scoop and has a nice buttery texture.Does it taste like “real” ice cream?: For the most part, yes. The maple flavour was too sweet for some, but others loved it. The consistency was a bit more watery than regular ice cream, but overall it was pretty darn close to the real thing. This is likely because this product still contains milk, just no lactose (lactose is the sugar found in milk and dairy products).Would we buy it?: YesScore out of 5: 4.5
3. Luna & Larry’s coconut bliss chocolate peanut butter frozen dessert
4. SO Delicious cashew milk salted caramel cluster frozen dessert
Available at: Loblaws, Fortinos, Metro and othersPrice: $6.99Product specialty: Non-dairy, made with cashew milkFirst thoughts: Looked very tasty and appealing. Once tasted, this product became divisive: some found it to be much too sweet and “artificial” tasting. Others, however, loved it and gave it high scores saying the taste was “great” and full of flavour.Does it taste like “real” ice cream?: For those who loved it, they agreed that it wasn’t perfectly ice cream-esque but was so tasty they didn’t mind.Would we buy it?: YesScore out of 5: 3.5
5. Ben & Jerry’s non-dairy P.B. & cookies frozen dessert
Available at: Loblaws, Fortinos, Metro and othersPrice: $6.99Product specialty: Non-dairy, made with almond milkFirst thoughts: It looks like a classic Ben & Jerry’s pint, loaded with frozen bits of peanut butter and cookie pieces. It was incredibly hard to scoop, though, and looked icier than regular ice cream.Does it taste like “real” ice cream?: Taste testers were divided on this one: some thought it tasted good, while others believed the chunks of cookie and peanut butter were compensating for a bland base. The fans of this product said it tasted close enough to the milk-based version.Would we buy it?: Half said they would buy this, while the other half didn’t think it was worth the money.Score out of 5: 3
6. Almond Dream non-dairy chocolate frozen dessert
Available at: Loblaws, Fortinos and othersPrice: $6.49Product specialty: Non-dairy, almond-basedFirst thoughts: Tough to scoop. Tastes “chemically” and not like chocolate.Does it taste like “real” ice cream?: No! Too icy, and not creamy like ice cream. We also thought the taste was too artificial meaning it wasn’t a satisfying substitute. The taste of almond milk was stronger than we liked.Would we buy it?: If desperate.Score out of 5: 2