Ripple vegan chocolate ice cream – ethical review

I bought a pint of Ripple Foods’ vegan chocolate ice cream at the Grocery Outlet recently ($1.99 compared to a normal price of around $5) and have to say that I loved it. I don’t buy a lot of ice cream because it’s a terrible food, nutritionally speaking (more on that later). But if I do buy ice cream then it better at least taste good! Ripple’s vegan chocolate ice cream is surprising on two fronts – the chocolate flavor is delicious and the texture is very close to regular dairy ice cream – perhaps even better.

I’ve had a half-full (half-empty?) tub of Ripple chocolate ice cream in my freezer for more than two months and just tasted it again now to see how it fares after storage. Many vegan ice creams become icy after opening and storage in the freezer, but the texture of the Ripple product is still creamy. I would definitely recommend this ice cream and would rate it as probably the best vegan ice cream that I’ve had – at least from a store. 

I’ve tried Brave Robot ice cream, made from vegan milk protein that’s produced by Perfect Day, and found the taste to be a little off – I’ll cover it here soon. There is one vegan “ice cream” that I liked as much as Ripple, and that’s the chocolate chip mousse from So Delicious. The So Delicious mousse has less fat and sugar compared to regular ice cream, and the main ingredients are organic. And that brings me to the ingredients and nutrition for Ripple Foods’ chocolate ice cream…

Ripple chocolate ice cream – Ingredients & Nutrition Facts

Ingredients: Water, cane sugar, coconut oil, tapioca syrup solids, pea protein, alkalized cocoa powder, chicory root fiber, contains less than 1% of sea salt, sunflower lecithin, dipotassium phosphate, natural flavors, acacia gum, locust bean gum, guar gum.

As you can see from the ingredients, above, and the nutrition facts, below, the Ripple ice cream is pretty loaded with sugar and fat. But all is not lost! There’s actually a little less sugar compared to regular ice cream, and the fats in coconut oil (medium chain triglycerides) are considered to be healthier than milk fat. There’s also a little fiber (2 grams, compared to zero in most dairy ice cream) which helps temper the body’s response to sugar a little bit.

Ripple vegan chocolate ice cream – Nutrition Facts. A pint of Ripple chocolate ice cream is shown next to the nutrition facts. A serving of 2/3 cup provides 240 calories, 2 g protein, 14 g fat, 20 g sugars, 2 g dietary fiber, zero trans fats, and zero cholesterol.

Most importantly, the Ripple product contains no trans fats, while most dairy ice creams still contain trans fats. Besides trans fats (one of the worst crimes against humanity of the processed food industry!), dairy is really awful from a human health perspective. I feel a lot better since cutting dairy down during lockdown.

So really there are so many options to avoid ice cream, but if you must have it then selecting vegan ice cream reduces two of the health risks – trans fats and dairy. The nice thing about Ripple is that it’s satisfying and flavorful enough that I don’t need to eat a huge amount at a time. Although I should admit that one reason that my tub of Ripple lasted so long was that I was out of the country for September! (That’s why there haven’t been any posts here, lately.)

Ethical rating for Ripple Foods’ ice cream

I would rate Ripple Foods 4 Green Stars, based on the points below:

  • Ripple Foods products are all vegan, benefiting animals, habitats and climate.
  • Yellow peas (one of Ripple’s key ingredients) fix their own nitrogen, avoiding the need for nitrogen fertilizer.
  • Ripple milk has a carbon footprint about one quarter that of dairy (no data is available for Ripple ice cream but based on data for other ice creams with similar ingredients, it’s definitely significantly lower than dairy).
  • Ripple products have smaller water footprints than dairy; peas are grown in regions where rainwater is plentiful.
  • Ripple Foods is a certified B-Corporation, with a score of 102 (improved by over 10% since 2016).
  • Room for improvement: none of the ingredients are organic, although the product is non-GMO certified.
  • Room for improvement: no information is provided about the sourcing of cacao.
Ripple ice cream - ethical score for social and environmental impact. A pint of Ripple chocolate ice cream is shown with a graphic underneath indicating  a score of 4/5 Green Stars for social and environmental impact.

Summary scores (out of 5) for Ripple ice cream:

  • 5 gold stars for quality and value.
  • 4 green stars for social and environmental impact

If you have a different opinion, please share your rating! Until next time, stay safe : )  

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