While we’re experiencing such beautiful sunny weather in the UK, I thought ice cream might be a topical subject to write about.
For probably the first 30 years of my life ice cream didn’t feature much in my diet. Now it’s a major food group!!
Growing up in the UK the only dairy free ice cream available was Swedish Glace. It was only available from Holland and Barrett and came in vanilla or vanilla. Over the years the range developed to include chocolate and raspberry flavours and started being stocked in very limited quantities in Supermarkets.
Around 2010 my local Sainsbury’s started stocking Swedish Glace non-dairy vanilla and strawberry cones, choc ices on sticks and Neapolitan ice cream, which came in a great big tub. My previously vanilla world was amazed by these new and wonderful treats. I stocked up and munched my way through countless packages of the creamy delights.
Then, as quickly as this new phase of my life began, it abruptly ended. I wrote to Mr Sainsbury:
I am allergic to dairy products and am limited to buying Swedish Glacé dairy free ice cream. My local store usually stocks this in Vanilla and Neapolitan flavours. However, in the last couple of months I’ve been lucky if I can get vanilla, let alone the more interesting Neapolitan flavour. Dairy eaters have no end of choice and I often have none, as there is simply nothing in stock and I am finding this increasingly disappointing. You used to stock other flavours such as chocolate and raspberry and for a while you stocked some lovely cornetto style ice creams and choc ices. Why did you stop selling these, and what are your plans with regards to this line of goods? I would really like to have more choice when I shop, and actually be able to buy these products rather than seeing empty shelves where they ought to be.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Mr Sainsbury replied:
Thank you for your email. I am sorry you are unhappy with the range of dairy free ice cream available at our store. I understand you would like us to increase this range in the future.
We try to sell the widest possible range of products to give our customers maximum choice. However, due to space limitations we cannot stock every item in every store. For each store, our buyers regularly review what we are stocking and how well it is selling, to make sure that we are meeting our local customers’ needs. Occasionally, this means that we withdraw products from some branches if they are not popular. If enough customers want to see a certain product in their local store, we will do everything we can to provide it. With that in mind, I have passed a request on to our buyers so they can consider the possibility of stocking Swedish Glacé chocolate and raspberry dairy free ice cream and some lovely cornetto style ice creams and choc ices at our store for you.
We appreciate you taking the time to contact us and look forward to seeing you in store again soon.
Dear reader, you may have noticed (I certainly did) a hint of sarcasm in Mr Sainsbury’s reply. He’d clearly copied and pasted my email into his. But I thought I’d give him the benefit of the doubt. So next time I found myself in the freezer aisle, imagine my disappointment that there was no Swedish Glacé chocolate and raspberry dairy free ice cream and the lovely cornetto style ice creams and choc ices were nowhere to be seen. To add insult to injury there wasn’t even a tub of vanilla!!
Fast forward a year or two and the non-dairy choices are significantly better. Mr Sainsbury is now stocking Swedish Glace choc ices (although they’ve changed the recipe and they’re not as good as they used to be). They’ve also started stocking a range of iced desserts by The Coconut Collaborative.
These are refreshing, low in sugar and high in coconut, which makes them extremely trendy. The packaging is quirky, eye catching and convenient to eat from whilst sitting in front of Game of Thrones. The only drawback is that you have to leave it to thaw for about 5 minutes before you can eat it, which is difficult for someone who’s spent 30 years plus waiting to eat the Frozen Yogurt made from the milk of the coconut!
Not wanting to miss an opportunity, Mr Tesco brought out his own Free From range a year or so ago. The range currently consists of Strawberry and vanilla cones and Chocolate ice cream sticks. They’ve recently introduced Toffee and vanilla cones but these have nuts in them, so be careful if you have a nut allergy like me.
Alpro have also recently brought out a dairy free range. Their Coconut ice cream is to die for. I’ve not tried their vanilla, so I can’t compare it with Swedish Glace. They also do a Chocolate Hazelnut ice cream, which isn’t Allergy Girl friendly.
I was really excited a few months ago to see an advert for dairy free Ben and Jerry’s, however it was short lived as they’re going to be making theirs with almond milk.
Finally, if you happen to be looking for a dairy free ice cream in Spain or the Canary Islands (and possibly the Balearics), head to a Mercadona supermarket, where you can pick up a box of very tasty choc ices on sticks or a tub of mango and raspberry ice cream. Yum!
That’s all from me. If you have your own tips on where to buy dairy free ice cream, I’d love to hear them. Alternatively you could try making your own……