Is Organic Ice Cream an Indulgence the World Can’t Afford?

Nov 15,2019

Is Organic Ice Cream an Indulgence the World Can’t Afford?

In recent years, as consumers began to see deeper connection between diet, health, and environment, public profile of organic food gradually moved on an upward spiral. Once merely a specialty favored by the eco- and health-conscious consumers, organic food has now become a staple in specialty stores, supermarkets and online stores worldwide. Today, consumers’ demand for transparency is not only limited to staple food but has reached snacks and desserts, especially ice creams. In a quest to achieve better health and wellness, consumers expect to know the story behind their food, especially about topics such as food safety, chemical preservatives, pesticides, and genetically modified ingredients. Food industry are working on gaining trust in the face of informed and empowered consumers, and the dairy sector is no different.

Navigating the Organic Trend in Dairy Industry

The global dairy industry is undergoing through a period of turbulence. As disposable income rises and nations become increasingly urbanized, individual are focusing on their diets – receiving more calories from proteins as opposed to basic carbohydrates. Expansion of organic food market beyond affluent consumers to those who have more interest in GMO-free ingredients, and food quality and safety has led to development of wide range of organic dairy products. In addition to growing popularity of organic beef, consumers are increasingly demanding for organic milk and protein milk. The impact of this trend is also noticeable in snacks and frozen desserts such as cheese and ice cream. According to Future Market Insights’ recent research, the organic cheese market is expected to cross US$ 2 Bn market in 2019, while organic ice cream is gaining increasing momentum among consumers. As innovation is becoming increasingly important to align with ever-evolving trends and drive profit margins, a number of ice cream manufacturers are venturing into the new market. In addition, many startups are coming to the forefront with unique business models and ideas.

Organic Ice Cream – Hype or Hope?

Like any other organic products, organic ice cream is deemed to offer a number of functional benefits over conventional ice cream. Made with certified organic milk, cream, and ingredients that aren’t treated with pesticides or fertilizers, organic ice cream needs to meet a number of stipulations, resulting into high cost of the final product. On the other hand, ingredients used in conventional ice cream are not required to ascribe to specific standards. In addition, cows producing conventional milk are heavily treated with antibiotics and artificial growth hormones such as rBST.

In case of organic ice creams, milk and cream must come from cows that are fed organic food with no synthetic chemicals. Organic cattle farmers maintain grazing areas without any chemical fertilizers and pesticides, and refrain from giving antibiotics and hormones for both growth and reproduction. In a year, these cows are given about 120 days to be out on pasture, allowing them to live according to their own natural rhythm and cycle. Although cows producing organic milk for products such as ice cream are healthier, raising and breeding them are more of a challenge. Organic dairy is therefore heavily marketed as superior to their conventional counterparts, and organic ice cream is approximately 60% more expensive than conventional variants.

Apart from milk, other ingredients used in organic ice cream are mostly organics, organic fruit powder, organic cocoa, and organic vanilla bean. While rich, creamy texture of organic milk and high nutrition profile of other ingredients translates directly to organic ice cream, consumers must be willing to pay more for products from quality sources. In addition, to attract a larger consumer base, manufacturers will need to focus on crafting a product that offers both high quality and affordability.

Is Millennial Driving Big Growth in Organic Ice Cream?

In an increasingly interconnected world, growing number of health-conscious, informed, and empowered consumers, especially millennial, is fueling the rapid shift towards sustainable farming, farm-to-table, and organic botanical ingredients. ‘Clean label’ is one of the biggest trends influencing consumers’ shopping habits. The term ‘organic’ next to each ingredient of organic ice cream is driving greater appeal to consumers. Moreover, many brands choose to use organic sugarcane over conventional sugar or their substitutes, which results in improved flavors that are free from chemical or harmful additives. Owing to richness in taste and easy-to-understand list of ingredients along with growing spending on sustainable products, organic ice cream is here to stay. Further, with a wealth of innovation on the horizon, the market is projected to offer million-dollar opportunities in future.