- Ben & Jerry's is the first national brand to offer sunflower butter-based pints to consumers, according to a company release. The Unilever-owned company's three new flavors for its non-dairy frozen desserts made with sunflower butter are now in stores — "Milk" & Cookies, Creme Brulee Cookie and Mint Chocolate Cookie. A fourth flavor, Cold Brew Coffee Fudge Chip, is available exclusively at its scoop shops.
- Including the recently launched almond-based version of its Netflix & Chilll'd flavor, Ben & Jerry's now has 17 non-dairy flavors, making up more than a quarter of the company's total flavor lineup.
- Ben & Jerry's is also introducing non-dairy, almond-based mini cups, which consist of one scoop in a portion-controlled pack. They will be available this spring in P.B. & Cookies and Caramel Chocolate Chunk flavors.
With the launch of these sunflower butter-based products, Ben & Jerry's is doubling down on its non-dairy alternative portfolio.
Similar to several other plant-based ice cream flavors on the market, Ben & Jerry's other non-dairy products use an almond base. By adding a sunflower butter option as well, the company could differentiate its product line, especially as almond farming has received recent criticism for its impact on bees.
In addition, the decision could resonate with consumers who want more plant-based, better-for-you products, but would like to try something new beyond the many almond and oat-based items on the shelves.
Sunflowers seeds may also be a good choice for those allergic to nuts. To help the new flavors stand out among its other offerings, Ben & Jerry's is using packaging featuring a bright yellow lid.
These new non-dairy frozen dessert products are certified vegan and Non-GMO Project verified, which could help attract consumers who are looking for those labels. But the products aren't low-calorie. Each two-thirds cup serving of the three flavors, which are now available in stores, ranges from 300 to 350 calories and 27 to 29 grams of sugar.
With this latest release, Ben & Jerry's continues its track record of staying on top of the trends. By expanding its non-dairy line, the ice cream maker is leaning into a market that is expected to grow at an annual rate of 14.8% to $1.2 billion by 2025, according to Grand View Research.
In 2018, the company also developed a line of low-fat, low-calorie ice cream called Moo-phoria, which was viewed as a move to undercut the popular Halo Top brand. And last year, the company said it would be creating CBD-infused frozen treats if the FDA adopts federal regulations.
According to Fior Markets, the global dairy alternatives market is projected to climb from $15.5 billion in 2017 to $38.9 billion by 2025, for a compound annual growth rate of 12.5% from 2018 to 2025. The Good Food Institute reported SPINScan data for the year ending April 2019 showed dollar sales of conventional ice cream and frozen novelties grew by just 1%, while dollar sales of the plant-based varieties jumped by 26.5%.