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How AI Actually Determined the Best Non-Dairy Ice Cream

The number of plant-based consumer packaged goods (CPG) products on the market today has increased dramatically in the last ten years, and vegan ice cream (non-dairy) is no exception.  

Today there are over 50 vegan ice cream brands with so many flavors to try! At Analytical Flavor Systems, we compared a few vegan ice cream options to see how well they perform against popular dairy ice cream brands in the market. 

 

TL;DR

  • The analysis focused primarily on flavors that consumers ages 10-50 would enjoy.
  • Gastrograph AI determined that the best non-dairy ice cream is Ben & Jerry's Chocolate Salted' n Swirled Non-Dairy Frozen Dessert Ice Cream. 
    • The AI noted positive strong 'rich' and 'sugars' flavors that drove a higher preference for this product.
    • The AI predicted that consumers' preference for this product would increase with more pronounced brown sugar and honey notes.
  • The overall preferred ice cream for both non-dairy and dairy ice cream as determined by Gastrograph AI was Magnum's Double Caramel Minis
    • Magnum Double Caramel Minis held a PQ score of 4.96 out of 7 with predicted preferable notes of 'wet' 'rich' and 'spices.'.

How does Gastrograph AI work?

Gastrograph AI predicts the food and beverage flavor preferences for over 3 billion consumers worldwide. Trained by our proprietary sensory database -the world's largest - Gastrograph AI provides CPG companies with the data they need to design flavor profiles and products consumers will love. It does this by learning how consumers perceive the products they taste and how much they like (or dislike) what they are tasting.

Essentially, twenty-four (24) broad-spectrum flavor attributes are ranked on an intensity scale from 0 – 5. Specific reference flavors will get marked under select flavor attributes, and the context-based sentiment of that related flavor gets indicated.

For example, if a person selects 'fruit' as a flavor attribute, they will then be prompted to make a more specific selection of exactly what fruit flavor they are tasting such as 'raspberry' or 'pomegranate.' From there, they will indicate whether that flavor had positive impact, negative impact, or no impact at all on the flavor profile.

At the end of each review, panelists get asked to give their best assessment of the product's quality (Perceived Quality). PQ is defined by how much they liked the product based on its flavor, aroma, and texture on a scale of 1(lowest) to 7 (highest).

Determining the Best Non-Dairy Ice Cream

Gastrograph AI analyzed each non-dairy ice cream product and assigned a predicted PQ score. Products that receive a score of 4 and above are generally considered competitive in the market.

In this case, 40 ice cream brands were paneled, analyzed, and assessed for the best vegan ice cream and overall best ice cream. The stack rank displays a few non-dairy ice creams and their respective scores.

Stack Rank of Selected Ice Cream Products

Non-Dairy Ice Cream Flavors

Perceived Quality (PQ)

Ben & Jerry's Chocolate Salted' n Swirled Non-Dairy Frozen Dessert Ice Cream

4.59
So Delicious Dairy Free Cashew Milk Salted Caramel Cluster Frozen Dessert Ice Cream 4.28
So Delicious Dair Free Cashew Milk Snickerdoodle Frozen Dessert Ice Cream 4.19
Arctic Zero Non-Dairy Frozen Dessert Hint of Mint Ice Cream 3.25

In this analysis, we were able to identify what flavors and textures consumers ages 10 to 50 would enjoy. Gastrograph AI can cluster consumers by flavor preferences, also known as Preference Archetypes. This technique allows CPG companies to identify segments of the population predisposed to like or dislike a product.

What Is the Best Non-dairy Ice Cream?

As determined by Gastrograph AI, our analysis showed that the best vegan ice cream is Ben & Jerry's Chocolate Salted' n Swirled Non-Dairy Frozen Dessert Ice Cream.

Ben & Jerry's launched their vegan line in 2016 after great demand from their customer base.

A Further Look at Our Analysis of Non-dairy Ice Cream

Ben & Jerry's Chocolate Salted' n Swirled Non-dairy Frozen Dessert Ice Cream

Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Salted and Swirled Non-Dairy Frozen Dessert Ice Cream
Figure 2: Ben & Jerry's Chocolate Ice Cream Flavor Profile

Ben & Jerry's Chocolate Salted' n Swirled Non-Dairy Frozen Dessert Ice Cream held a PQ score of 4.59 out of 7. Gastrograph AI noted positive strong 'rich' and 'sugars' flavors, with undesirable 'wet,' 'cold finish,' and 'dairy' flavors.

The AI predicted that consumers' preference for this product would increase with more pronounced brown sugar and honey notes.

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So Delicious Dairy Free Cashew Milk Snickerdoodle Frozen Dessert Ice Cream

So Delicious Dairy Free Cashew Milk Snickerdoodle Frozen Dessert Ice Cream
Figure 3: So Delicious Cashew Milk Ice Cream Flavor Profile

So Delicious Dairy Free Cashew Milk Snickerdoodle Frozen Dessert Ice Cream was another well-liked non-dairy ice cream that earned a 4.19 out of 7 in PQ.

The AI noted preferred flavors such as 'sugars,' 'roasted,' and 'rich.' Interestingly, some popular dairy products paneled held similar positive reference notes as non-dairy ice cream products.

This non-dairy flavor held undesirable notes of 'spices,' 'cold finish,' and 'dairy' notes. The AI predicted that consumers' preference for this product would increase if more pronounced roasted flavors such as caramelization were present.

Non-dairy v. Dairy Ice Cream Products

Next, let's compare the products we analyzed to a dairy ice cream and see how the analysis differs.

Based on the AI's predictions, the overall preferred ice cream for both non-dairy and dairy ice cream was Magnum's Double Caramel Minis.

Magnum Double Caramel Minis

Magnum Double Caramel Minis
Figure 4: Magnum Double Caramel Minis

Magnum Double Caramel Minis held a PQ score of 4.96 out of 7 with predicted preferable notes of 'wet' 'rich' and 'spices.' The dairy taste was solid and recognizable to panelists.

The AI predicted that preference for the product would increase if there were more nuts and seeds flavors, specifically peanuts. Surprisingly, less caramel also would have increased the PQ score of Magnum Double Caramel Minis.

Using Artificial Intelligence to Develop New Non-dairy Ice Cream Products

Non-dairy ice creams have proven to be a strong competitor in the ice cream and plant-based industry. By 2021, the plant-based industry expects to reach a value of $10.7 billion.

Are there any frozen dessert flavors you are curious to try or eager to see created? If you want to make a competitive Vegan or non-dairy alternative to Ice Cream, get in touch; Gastograph AI has the tools to do so!

This blog was originally published on September 30, 2020, updated on December 13, 2021

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