As a lifestyle, veganism rejects all forms of exploitation and cruelty to animals, and promotes respect for any form of animal life. As far as diet goes, veganism encourages the consumption of vegetable products and specifically excludes any meat, fish, poultry, eggs, honey, milk and derivatives. It differs from vegetalism, i.e. a diet that excludes only foods of animal origin.
It should be pointed out first of all that many gelato flavours, in particular sorbets, are vegan by definition because they contain no milk or derivatives, eggs, honey, etc. This does not mean that all fruit gelato is vegan, however, which is why this new trend has emerged to certify or highlight vegan flavours.
Veganism is steadily gaining new followers and producers are gearing up quickly because market demand is growing, as reflected in the figures: recent research shows that 6% of Americans claim to be vegan, while 36% claim to use alternatives to milk and meat. On top of that, a further 7% claim to eat meat only on a very occasional basis. Another 26% claim to have reduced their consumption of meat in the last year. Moreover, 13% of consumers associate veganism with healthier ingredients, 12% with a diet, and 8% with greater social responsibility.
Veganism has a different standing in various parts of the world. Some areas, including India and the UK, provide cultural and even legal support, such as food labeling which makes it easier for vegans to recognize which foods are compatible with their diets. Numbers of vegans are growing in several countries, such as India, Taiwan, Israel, Sweden, Italy, Austria and Germany.
Apart from the numbers, the phenomenon clearly seems to be very much on the rise and gelato makers will need to keep tabs on it, perhaps starting out by testing a few products and monitoring their success with customers: some areas, such as the North of Italy, are showing a stronger trend, while others would appear to have much less of a market.
To find out which companies offer ingredients for vegan gelato, check out the websites of semi-finished ingredients companies by clicking here, where you will find a wide range of certified products that will make your work easier.