A New Zealand nutritional foods company is introducing a fruit-based, non-dairy ice cream made with persimmon pulp that it hopes will disrupt the global non-dairy dessert market, according to Dairy Reporter.
WellKit Foods International plans to debut four flavors of its My Goodness! plant-based ice cream in Countdown supermarket outlets in New Zealand next month before reaching out to export markets in Asia, Dairy Reporter said.
"Until now, the big players in the non-dairy ice cream category have been soy, almond and coconut," WellKit Director Duane Wells said in a stuff article. "From there the category trickles down to sorbets, which typically uses a small percentage of fruit juice. My Goodness! uses a significantly higher proportion of fresh fruit at around 60 per cent."
If WellKit is successful in disrupting the dairy-free ice cream segment in New Zealand and then Asia, the product could end up coming to the U.S., where it might intrigue adventurous consumers looking for plant-based desserts. The category is becoming increasingly mainstream, with players such as Häagen-Dazs, Ben & Jerry's, Halo Top, So Delicious, NadaMoo!, Coconut Bliss and others rolling out dairy-free innovations.
Persimmons aren't well-known to most Americans, but they're very familiar in Asian countries. They do grow in this country, however, and in the wild have been known to reach from Connecticut to Florida and west to Nebraska. They have a healthy nutritional profile — low in calories and fat and high in fiber, potassium and vitamins A and C.
Persimmons look like squat orange tomatoes and are usually eaten, or used in recipes, when ripe and very soft. The taste is described as both sweet and sour, and the fruit has a texture similar to a peach or an apricot. Persimmons can be eaten raw or used in baked goods such as cookies, muffins or quick breads, but they aren't widely grown commercially because many varieties are too soft to be successfully shipped.
WellKit's persimmon-based ice cream came about by chance, according to stuff. Duane Wells' family business, NTL Horticulture, grows persimmons in New Zealand for export, and the company was looking for a way to make shelf-stable pulp out of low-grade fruit that couldn't be shipped abroad. Students at the Massey University Food Technology department processed the pulp in such a way that it ended up being the first non-dairy ice cream prototype, Wells told the publication.
It's hard to tell what the new product will taste like, although persimmons are naturally sweet and lend body and texture to anything they're in. The four flavors of My Goodness! — Mango Swirl, Summer Berry Swirl, Passionfruit Swirl and Kiwifruit Swirl — may or may not mesh well with persimmon as a base, but consumers will make that call after the product debuts next month in New Zealand.