Dairy-free ice cream is a frozen dessert made from alt-milk sources. They can be made from plant-based milk from almonds, soy, or coconut.
Traditionally, ice cream is made with milk from cows, raised to produce milk their entire lives. Dairy cow farming produces CO2 emissions that contribute to global warming, manure and fertilisers degrade local water sources, and unsustainable farming can lead to biodiversity loss.
According to a report, the overall volume of ice cream sold in the UK reaches nearly 400,000 metric tonnes in Great Britain, with sales steadily increasing to over £1.3 billion in recent years and on course to exceed more than £100 million more in 2025.
With the impact of traditional dairy ice cream on the environment, choosing a vegan alternative might be the better choice.
Viable.Earth has looked at the alternatives and listed some of the most popular dairy-free ice creams you can find in the UK.
Dairy-free ice cream brands in the UK
Flavours: Vanilla, raspberry, chocolate
Ingredients: Water, sugar, glucose syrup, glucose-fructose syrup, coconut fat, dextrose, soy powder (2 per cent), stabilisers (locust bean gum, guar gum, carrageenan), flavouring, emulsifier (mono and diglycerides of fatty acids), salt, exhausted vanilla bean pieces, colour (carotenes).
Swedish Glace began selling tofu-based chilli and burgers in 1981. A few years later, it launched Scandinavia’s first soy-based ice cream, also known as “Tofu-Line Glass”.
In 2012, the company was acquired by Unilever (Walls) and the brand has expanded across the UK.
The brand’s ice cream is dairy-free, vegan, lactose-free, gluten-free and kosher.
Ingredients: Soya base (Water, hulled soya beans (5.6 per cent), soluble corn fibre, sugar, coconut oil, fructose-glucose syrup, glucose syrup, dextrose, powdered chocolate (0.8 per cent) (cocoa, sugar), emulsifiers (mono- and diglycerides of fatty acids), modified starch, stabilisers (locust bean gum, guar gum), sea salt, flavourings.
Alpro is one of the first pioneers of plant-based ice cream established in 1980. It offers a “deliciously creamy texture” of ice cream using soy as its main ingredient.
According to the brand, its ice cream contains 30 per cent less sugar than traditional ice cream.
In addition, it is also seeking to cut CO2 emissions by 40 per cent by eliminating plastic from its packaging. In 2020, the brand eliminated drinks in cartons, in 2021 straws, and in the coming years, the brand is planning to use 100 per cent recyclable PET.
Flavours: Honeycomb caramel, mint with chocolate truffle, raspberry ripple, caramel pecan praline, chocolate salted caramel, hazelnut chocolate, chocolate, vanilla
Ingredients: Salted caramel flavour: water, agave syrup, cashew nuts, coconut syrup, cocoa powder (3.5 per cent), sea salt.
Known for its wide variety of flavours, Booja-Booja, according to the company, means “the sound of pure enjoyment”.
Launched in 1999, the company is an independently owned chocolate truffle and ice cream manufacturer based in England. Its products are entirely plant-based and from dairy, palm oil, gluten, eggs, honey, and even soya.
The brand’s famous “honeycomb”, despite its name, doesn’t contain honey. Instead, it is made from sugar and sodium bicarbonate.
Flavours: Salted caramel, peanut butter and chocolate hazelnut
Ingredients: Each Miiro ice cream popsicle is made with coconut milk nuts, sweetened with coconut sugar and grapes, sprinkled with Himalayan pink salt and enriched with pea protein. It is coated in raw cacao and contains no refined sugar.
Rym Selmi launched the company after being inspired to eat healthier and go vegan after a health scare. A few developments later, she created an ice cream to satisfy her cravings and decided to share it for the rest of the world to enjoy.
All products are gluten-free and soy-free and are packaged in fully recyclable material.
The Coconut Collaborative
Ingredients: Coconut cream (34 per cent), water, fruit-derived sugars (from grapes), chicory root fibre, natural flavourings, natural vanilla flavouring (<0.05 per cent), stabilisers (locust bean gum, guar gum), emulsifier (mono & diglycerides).
The Coconut Collaborative offers dairy-free ice cream made from coconut milk. According to the brand, it makes the product so thick and creamy that “you wouldn’t think it’s plant-based”.
All ice-cream products are gluten-free, ethically sourced, dairy-free and 100 per cent plant-based. However, it is still made in a factory that handles dairy, soya, and eggs.
The brand is practising additional sustainability initiatives through the Pur Project, planting over 20,000 trees in Bali in Indonesia, including Cocos Nucifera, Gemelina Arborea, Timber, Chinese Albizia Legume, and Ingidogera Legume.
Flavours: Vanilla, hazelnut, caramel, strawberry, chocolate
Ingredients: Water, oats, sugar, dextrose, rapeseed oil, glucose syrup, fully hydrogenated vegetable oils (coconut, rapeseed), coconut oil, emulsifier (mono- and diglycerides of fatty acids), stabilisers (locust bean gum, guar gum), natural flavour, salt, vanilla seeds, colour (beta carotene).
The saturated fat in the milk makes dairy ice cream stay in one place instead of “spreading out in a weird way”, and gives that creamy taste. According to the brand, it has found a way to use fully-hydrogenated fat from plants instead.
All products are packed in recyclable cartons made of PEFC-certified paperboard from sustainable forests.
Flavours: Chocolate and blood orange, chocolate mint biscuit, salted caramel and almond swirl, white chocolate and honeycomb, strawberry and yuzu, chocolate and sea salt, peanut.
Ingredients: Peanut flavour: Water, sugar, peanut (8 per cent), rice syrup, dextrose, vegetable protein, chicory root fibre, maltodextrin, fructose, chocolate chips (0.5 per cent) cocoa mass, sugar, cocoa butter, emulsifier: Soya lecithin, natural vanilla flavour), salt (chocolate chips 48 per cent Cocoa Solids).
Northern Bloc offers vegan ice cream developed by renowned ice cream maker and scientist, Manolo Imperatori.
Imperative developed a vegetable-based fibre used in the brand’s ice cream that allows it to be easily scooped and it has a slow melt rate, smooth texture, is lower in fat and sugar, is gluten-free and egg-free.
According to the company, its ice cream/ gelato hybrid offers a lower air content than other commercial ice creams – making the frozen dessert richer, thicker, and with fewer bubbles.
The company’s vegan range was launched in 2018 after it noticed the increased demand for dairy-free ice cream options.
Is vegan ice cream healthy?
Plant-based ice cream has less fat and fewer calories than its dairy counterpart. It’s also recommended for people who are sensitive to lactose, or on diets such as keto, vegan, or low, fat. However, because dairy-free ice cream is still high in sugar (unless indicated sugar-free), it doesn’t make it exactly healthier than regular ice cream.