How sweet is your ice-cream?

Ice-cream.  We all know it’s not that good for us.  But how good is it for the rest of the world?

As with most foodstuffs, there’s a whole complex of issues surrounding the production of this tempting summer treat.  We take a quick look at a few of them.

Almost half the ice-cream sold in the UK is produced by Unilever, including, Walls and Ben & Jerry’s. You may  be concerned about what you’re indirectly funding when you buy dairy-free. Vegans have been avoiding old standby Swedish Glace since 2011, when it was bought by Unilever, which not only sells uncertified dairy, but is also known to use animal testing.

The US Food Standards Agency suggests ‘almost all’ soya and ‘much of’ the maize produced in the Americas (the biggest suppliers) is now genetically modified. The EU animal feed industry currently imports around 70% of its soya, maize and rapeseed so there’s a growing chance of GMOs finding their way into uncertified dairy food chains as well as some soya desserts. Again, the trick is to choose organic.

Unsustainable palm oil and its impact on people and the planet is a major concern. It may turn up in ice-cream coating toffee or butterscotch pieces, or as a cheap fat and emulsifier in budget ranges. Cheaper ice creams with long ingredients lists almost always contain some. Many companies are now using coconut oil instead. Stick to explicitly palm oil-free brands, and look for evidence any coconut oil has been sustainably sourced.

Most of us know too much sugar can damage our own health, but sugar production is also associated with environmental damage, poor workers’ rights and land grabs. Some of the more forward-thinking companies are experimenting with alternative sweeteners like agave syrup or fruit.

Vanilla production in Madagascar has been linked to forced child labour. Soil Association organic certification includes a clause on workers’ rights and child labour, or at least look for Fairtrade accreditation. Cocoa production has similar issues, although many manufacturers now have explicit policies regarding sourcing.

What to choose

Booja Booja

Avoid dairy with its associated animal welfare issues, and choose from one of the vegan iced desserts available, of which Booja Booja is undoubtedly the most appealing. Apart from water, its Hunky Punky Chocolate is a gorgeous, truffly confection containing nothing but thoughtfully sourced organic cashews, agave syrup and cocoa. Other gloriously simple flavours also free of dairy, gluten, sugar, palm oil or soya, include vanilla and ginger.


Try not to eat too much!


2 thoughts on “How sweet is your ice-cream?

  1. Hi Deeper Luxury – fascinating blog post as always. I’ve added a note below to assist with your call.

    A Day in the Life of a Dairy Cow

    The life of a dairy cow is not as country-natural as you might think – cows are kept continually pregnant and lactating; 80 percent are made pregnant through artificial insemination; calves are removed when only two days old.

    Cows are instinctively maternal animals; both the mother and calf suffer visible separation stress. On dairy farms, you’ll hear the mother cows bellowing wildly to find their young. Young who aren’t there anymore.

    The destiny of a calf is decided by its sex. If male – he’s taken away to be raised and slaughtered for meat. One is slaughtered every 20 seconds.

    If female – she’s kept or sold as a herd replacement. Or slaughtered.

    After calving cows lose weight and condition rapidly as their bodies metabolise to provide milk for their absent calves. This is the milk we use for milkshakes to wash-down that Big Mac made from the meat of the same animals.

    Researchers have estimated that a modern dairy cow endures more strain than a Tour de France cyclist. That’s laughable right. Or is it?

    Cows can live ‘naturally’ up to 25 years old. On most dairy farms cows are slaughtered when only 5-7 years.

    Arriving at the slaughterhouse in cattle trucks, the cows are held together in stunning pens and stunned with a captive bolt pistol. Then they’re shackled by the leg, hoisted, and have their throats slit. Job done.

    So how do we justify treating sentient beings as nothing more than economic commodities ? Like cream. Or ice cream.

    Go vegan.

    Mine’s a Booja Booja.

    (Adapted from:


  2. Thank you for your great comment Letssavetherhinos. Hear ! Hear ! let’s care about the world and treat all it’s wonderful creatures ethically. Go Vegan !


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