Gelatin, tallow, non-dairy fats, E-numbers, eggs, honey, whey and other dairy products; All are possible pitfalls for vegans eating ice cream. Here’s a quick rundown on some brands claiming to offer vegan ice cream in Hong Kong. Listings are up to date at time of publication.
Happy Cow ice cream have also been mentioned on this website before to distinguish them from the unrelated online healthy eating guide. Launched in 2012 in HK by Isaac and Lacey Goldstein, this all vegan ice cream brand is now owned by Mary Schroeder. Charlie at Happy Cow HK told us today that their products are still vegan all the way.
Wild Mylk is the enterprise of Laura Perez in HK. Laura was kind enough to tell us, “So far all the ice cream I have sold and developed for sale on the site and at markets has been 100% vegan as well as gluten free. I however have made test kitchen flavors using artisan, raw unpasteurized honey (a non vegan sweetener). In the food factory I work in, there is a dedicated vegan sink and cooking bench for me so as to avoid any cross contamination. That is why I have never made a flavor using honey past the experimenting phase. I suppose that for now there is the possibility that I could make non vegan flavors using honey if I move out of that kitchen. Not anytime soon though.”
(Pic sourced from the Wild Mylk website)
Genie Juicery are another HK based outfit. Their understanding of veganism seems regrettably poor. Victoria in the sales team sent this by email. “Our products don’t contain animal products, such as fish, meat, eggs, cheese or leather. That makes all our products 100% vegan.” This was followed up by phone:-
- “Hi Victoria, do you use any other milk products such as milk, cream, butter?”
- “No we don’t, we use almond milk.”
- “What about honey?”
- “We use honey in some of our salads”
- “Please pardon me Victoria, I’m a bit confused. You previously said all of your products are vegan. Now you are saying that you use honey in some of your salads?”
- “Honey doesn’t come from a pig or a cow.”
- “Correct. It is made by bees so as an animal product it still isn’t vegan.”
- “Oh, OK”
There’s nothing like low levels of staff knowledge such as this above to erode customer confidence. It gets worse though. Since original publication of this article Genie Juicery have introduced a meat menu at their location on Hollywood Road. Victoria tried to justify the meat menu with a remarkable lack of understanding of veganism. Victoria feels the beef, steak, chicken and salmon sold at Genie Juicery doesn’t further compromise what she sees as vegan status. She feels this is since the food is provided by a third party caterer they partner with. Trust their ice cream or anything else at your own risk.
The people behind the Ben and Jerry’s brand to much trumpeting have this year introduced some vegan ice cream into their product portfolio. While this is to be welcomed as a step in the right direction they are hardly leading the vegan ice cream revolution. And as a subsidiary of the Unilever mega-giant corporation, they don’t fit the bill for anyone who prefers to buy from the little guy. Despite the new dairy free products, the Ben and Jerry’s subsidiary remain a massive customer to the dairy industry. The wider Unilever conglomerate are one of the biggest wholesale customers on the planet of the meat, fishing, dairy and other animal industries. Unilever’s underhand response to the threat posed by vegan Just Mayo to the Hellman’s mayonnaise brand was widely covered in the press.
So Delicious are much more firmly established in the vegan food market than Ben and Jerry’s. In contrast to Ben and Jerry’s, So Delicious is a specialist dairy free subsidiary. A similarity So Deliciois have to Ben and Jerry’s is that So Delicious was bought out in a corporate take over. That 2014 take over was by the WhiteWave corporation who own a portfolio of vegan and non-vegan brands. That could be about to change again. The WhiteWave board of directors have unanimously recommended shareholders accept the buyout bid from another corporate mega-giant, Danone.
HK based Anything But Salads previously included ice cream in their portfolio. However they are no longer operational.