The Most Vegan-Friendly Ice Cream Chains, According to PETA

Some big names earned an “A” while others flunked out.

Ice cream is made from the milk of cows. Plenty of ice cream lovers may see this as the highest honor that can be bestowed upon a cow. Vegans, however, would probably disagree and likely point out that plenty of vegan ice cream alternatives now exist. In fact, PETA has added to its vegan-friendly lists, releasing its first-ever rankings of the best and worst ice cream chains with regard to cow-friendliness — a.k.a. the number of vegan ice creams and other dairy-free options — and it runs the full gamut from “A” to “F.”

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Topping the rankings with an “A” are Amy’s Ice Creams, Ben & Jerry’s, Haagen-Dazs, and Sub Zero Nitrogen Ice Cream, all of which PETA writes “offer a wide variety of vegan flavors—such as coconut cookies and creme, salted caramel, amaretto, and peanut butter chocolate fudge — made from soy, almond, coconut, and other types of nondairy milk.”

On the opposite end of the spectrum, six chains earned an “F” grade because they “offer no vegan ice cream or sorbet options”: Braum’s, Dairy Queen, Marble Slab Creamery, Oberweis Dairy, Sloan’s Ice Cream, and Tasi D-Lite.

Making up the middle of the pack are Cream, Creamistry, and Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams all of which earned “B’s” thanks to their slightly more limited but equally enjoyable vegan choices. Meanwhile, six chains received a “D” for having vegan options like sorbets and Italian ices but not dipping specifically into vegan ice cream. That list includes Bruster’s Real Ice Cream, Carvel, Cold Stone Creamery, Gifford’s Famous Ice Cream, KaleidoScoops, and Kilwins.

“Vegan ice cream is a sweet treat that's as kind to mother cows as it is to our taste buds,” PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman said in announcing the new rankings. “PETA's list celebrates the chains that are meeting the demand for decadent dairy-free treats—and points out which ones are falling behind.”

You may notice one America’s biggest chains is nowhere to be found: Baskin-Robbins. PETA “deferred” their ranking because the chain “continues to hint that vegan ice cream is on the way” so they’ll “keep an eye out for what the summer of 2019 may bring.” Stewart’s Shops also had its grade deferred after announcing it will launch its first vegan flavor this year.

Finally, Salt & Straw was singled out as having its grade “in detention” due to the brand’s mixed signals. “Salt & Straw may offer unique vegan flavors like Rachel’s Raspberry Ginger Beer, but it also has sold foie gras ice cream and has used pig’s blood in previous flavors,” the list explains. “PETA hopes Salt & Straw will no longer sell these disgusting, cruelly obtained ice cream options.”

PETA does explain that its “ranking is dynamic, and the information will change as we receive updates from chains or learn of new menu options.” Any chain thinking of rolling out a veal ice cream might want to take that as a warning.

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