SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — What does McConnell’s Fine Ice Creams – a 70-year old, family dairy with a reputation for making the finest ice creams – do when faced with America’s growing interest in everything plant-based, from meat to, yes, dairy? They reinvent everyone’s favorite treat, with an innovative, industry-first line of Dairy-Free Frozen Desserts, launching this Spring.
The challenge? Coming up with a product that meets McConnell’s extraordinarily high standards. But after a process that took the better part of a year, McC’s co-owner and chef, Eva Ein, finally arrived at a product that met McConnell’s superior standards. The secret ingredient? Peas, or more specifically, pea protein.
“There’s nothing interesting or innovative about coconut cream, almond or cashew milk, or soy-based ‘ice creams’,” said McConnell’s co-owner and CEO – and Ein’s husband – Michael Palmer, referring to the industry’s standard alternatives to dairy-based ice creams. “These are the same products that’ve been out there for years, and the results are rarely worth it.”
According to Palmer, it’s difficult to remove the coconut or roasted nut taste from a coconut cream or nut-based product. In attempting to do this, companies typically over-flavor their products, along with pumping these products full of air and stabilizers, which results in chalky, crumbly, inconsistent texture.
McConnell’s Dairy-Free Frozen Desserts are made from a proprietary blend (McConnell’s P3) of 100% micronized pea protein. Pea Protein is a sustainable protein derived from yellow peas, the very same plant-based protein found in many of the food industry’s cutting-edge vegetarian and dairy-free milk substitutes. The result? McC’s Dairy-Free Frozen Desserts line, made from a base that is both neutral in flavor and shares the mouthfeel – and many other characteristics – found in McConnell’s super smooth, 18.5% butterfat ice creams. McC’s dairy-free is also lower in fat and sugar, cholesterol-free, and non-GMO.
“People who crave great ice cream want to taste great ice cream, whether it’s dairy-based or not. The last thing we want to have to do is apologize for giving customers a lesser experience. They shouldn’t have to settle,” said Palmer.
McConnell’s Dairy-Free Frozen Desserts are launching with five flavors, including classic Dark Chocolate Chip, Toasted Coconut Almond Chip, classic Cookies & Cream, Turkish Coffee, and Eureka Lemon & Marionberries, with more to come.
For more information about McConnell’s and ordering details, visit mcconnells.com. Get social on www.facebook.com/mcconnells.icecream for updates and special news and follow McConnell’s on Twitter @mccsicecream and Instagram @mcconnellsicecreams.
About McConnell’s Fine Ice Creams
Founded in Santa Barbara, California in 1949 and now in its third-generation of family ownership, McConnell’s uses Central Coast grass-grazed milk & cream and the finest local, sustainable, and organic ingredients from partner farms & purveyors they’ve worked with for decades to make the world’s finest ice creams.