Non-dairy ice cream? What? Why? If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. 

It is undeniable that we as consumers are completely spoiled with choices when it comes to shopping, and grocery shopping is no exception. But dairy-free ice cream, really? Try explaining dairy-free ice cream to your parents or grandparents, and be ready for the confused look on their faces. 

Non-dairy ice cream may sound ridiculous. It’s similar to the concept of meatless meatballs or cheese-less cheese; some people just don’t get it. 

What is dairy-free ice cream, why should you pay attention to it, and is it any better for you? These are all questions we’re about to get into (and get you some answers for). 

The Rise of Non-Dairy Ice Cream

Believe it or not, non-dairy is now the fastest-growing segment of the frozen dessert category. That’s right, dairy-free desserts are making their move and taking over freezers in the grocery stores. 

Whatever you want to call it, it’s flying off the shelves. Last year, the global dairy-free ice cream market was valued at a whopping $455.9 million. This number is expected to continue growing and reach an incredible $1.2 billion by 2025. Numbers don’t lie, and the numbers tell us that people are loving non-dairy ice cream. 

What’s driving the increase in demand for dairy-free delights? It’s a few things, actually. Lactose-intolerance is a primary reason for consumers choosing non-dairy products, but this element has always been at play. The new fuel for this shift towards dairy-free is likely coming from the increase in awareness regarding health concerns connected to dairy and the environmental impact of said dairy products.

Non-dairy ice cream has become so popular and widespread that there’s now almost no difference in availability compared to regular ice cream. Take a stroll down the frozen dessert aisle. There’s likely a similar number of dairy-free ice creams on the shelves as regular ice creams. Whatever your reason for seeking dairy-free, you don’t need to worry about FOMO (fear of missing out) anymore—you have options!

Discover Non-Dairy Ice Cream

We just talked about the wild success of non-dairy ice cream and how there are definitely many options to choose from. But what exactly is non-dairy ice cream, and how are there so many variations? The variations come from the different types of plant-based milk used to create the base. Different plant-based kinds of milk make ice creams of different consistencies. 

Almond milk is one of the most popular plant-based milk used in non-dairy products. Almond milk is mostly water, making it lower in calories (also lower in nutrition), but more importantly, this makes ice cream that lacks creaminess. 

Soy milk is another popular milk for ice cream because its higher fat content results in creamier ice cream. The selling point for soy milk ice cream (other than more creaminess, duh) is usually the higher protein and fat content, as well as its additional micronutrient offering.

Coconut and cashew milk are other common kinds of milk used in dairy-free ice cream. You’re probably catching on by now that the important factor is the fat content. Higher fat content makes creamier ice cream, and as far as we’re concerned, the creamier, the better. 

Non-dairy ice cream is a beautiful thing. However, not all are created equal. At Eclipse, our ice cream is crafted from a blend of plants, including oat, corn, and potato. The ice cream base consists of only six ingredients: oat, corn, potato, cassava, organic cane sugar, and non-GMO canola oil. There’s beauty in simplicity, and our ice cream passes the test. 

Beyond the different bases for non-dairy ice cream, it’s an even playing field for dairy vs. non-dairy delights. It then becomes a battle of the toppings, to which only personal preference has the final say. 

Is Non-dairy the Same as Lactose-Free?

Great question—no, non-dairy is not the same as lactose-free. 

Lactose, a type of sugar found in dairy products, requires a naturally occurring enzyme called “lactase” to be digested. Most people are born with enough lactase-producing ability to be able to digest lactose. However, between the ages of two and five, up to 40% of people stop producing sufficient amounts of lactase. This results in lactose intolerance, which over one-third of Americans have (to varying degrees). 

For people without lactose intolerance, when the body ingests milk, our small intestine breaks down the sugar, and a normal digestion process occurs. For people with an intolerance, the lactose does not get broken down and is instead sent to the colon. When lactose reaches the colon, it mixes with other bacteria and begins to ferment. This triggers unpleasant symptoms such as gas, bloating, cramps, and diarrhea. 

Lactose-free products have been engineered in the manufacturing process to have lactase already added in. This means the work has already been done for our bodies, and the milk can be processed as though there is no lactose in it. Lactose-free products that come from animal milk are still dairy products. 

Non-dairy products have in no way come from an animal. Since lactose only comes from animal milk, non-dairy products will always be lactose-free. 

In summary, dairy-free = lactose-free, but lactose-free ≠ dairy-free. 

Is Non-Dairy Ice Cream Better for You?

Let’s compare using four main factors: nutrition, dairy, taste and texture, and availability and price. 


Different non-dairy ice creams have very different nutritional profiles. Ice creams made from lighter plant-based milk, such as almond milk, can be much lower in calories. Ice creams that use plant-based milk are also usually lower in other nutrients, such as fat, protein, and micronutrients. 

Another way to make nutritional comparisons is by looking at the ingredient list. A good rule of thumb is that shorter ingredient lists are usually a good thing. Some non-dairy ice cream brands (with not so amazing dairy-free recipes) try to compensate for the lack of dairy by adding in a slew of additional chemicals and additives. While these extra chemicals undoubtedly make tasty ice cream, our bodies are probably better off without them. 

Here at Eclipse, we take nutrition seriously. Our ice cream base is made from six simple ingredients, all of which are plant-based and non-GMO. Better yet, we craft our ice cream with absolutely zero preservatives and no artificial colors or flavors. It’s all of the good stuff and none of the bad stuff. 


The most relevant factor here is whether or not you have lactose intolerance. For those who are sensitive to lactose, non-dairy ice cream is undoubtedly better for you. As yummy as even our ice cream is, nothing quite justifies gas, bloating, cramps, and diarrhea. 

For those who aren’t sensitive to lactose, other health considerations come into play. There’s varying (and conflicting) research, but many people swear that eliminating dairy can improve skin condition, energy levels, and aid in weight loss. There are several other claimed benefits of avoiding dairy, but these are some of the most common. 

Taste and Texture

The most significant pushback non-dairy ice cream receives comes from two reasons: taste and texture.

Concerning taste, many non-dairy ice creams lack flavor because of the specific plant-based milk that is used. Plant-based milk offers us lower calorie options, but the lower fat content is much less satisfying and results in ice cream that many consumers find “too watery.” 

The texture is the other side of the equation that is also a total buzzkill. Non-dairy ice cream can have a dry texture often described as “chalky.” This chalkiness is similar to how some people describe certain protein powders; it leaves a weird feeling in your mouth and feels unnatural. 

Availability and Price

With the non-dairy ice cream scene booming in popularity, there’s no shortage of options available. Non-dairy ice creams can be found right up beside regular ice creams and come in all similar flavors. 

When non-dairy ice cream first hit the shelves, they came at a notably higher price due to being seen as a “premium” or “health” product. As these products have been popular for longer and longer, the prices are beginning to deflate and become more on par with regular ice cream. Woohoo! Now there really is no excuse to give non-dairy ice cream a try. 

The Best Non-Dairy Ice Cream

The best choice of all is easy: Eclipse ice cream. 

Eclipse ice cream creates ice cream that is indistinguishable from conventional dairy. There’s no sacrifice to taste, texture, nor functionality. 

Eclipse goes above and beyond and supports a bigger mission: creating a more sustainable, responsible, and humane food system. Supporting vegan foods may be the easiest and most significant way to reduce your environmental impact on the planet. Dairy-free ice cream requires less water, less land, and emits fewer greenhouse gases into our atmosphere. Helping the planet has never been so easy.

So, is non-dairy ice cream better for you? Probably. We’ve given you the full scoop on all things to know about non-dairy ice cream. The rest is up to you. 

Dairy or non-dairy, Eclipse ice cream provides incredibly delicious products. All that’s left for you to do is sit back, enjoy, and save the world.