Cow-free ice cream maker Eclipse Foods launches summer flavors31 May 2021
Bay Area-based Eclipse Foods is looking to become the household name that is a an eponym for plant-based dairy products. As part of that mission, the company will release seven new flavors in June, The Spoon reported.
The flavors that will become available online and in select retail locations are: mango, passion fruit, strawberry fields, mint chip, caramel butter pecan, the dark side of the spoon (chocolate, peanut butter cookie dough, and fudge chunks) and cookies n’ cream.
Last fall, Eclipse released chocolate, vanilla and cookie butter flavors as part of its initial foray into animal-free dairy. Unlike its competitors, Eclipse Foods replicates the taste and texture of dairy not by using fermented ingredients or milking nuts, but rather by working with purely plant-based ingredients such as potato, corn, cassava, canola oil and cane sugar.
The idea behind selecting these ingredients was to mimic milk’s magical creamy ingredient: a structural component of casein called a micelle. Having replicated the creamy texture of animal milk in such a novel manner, the California company has attracted notable investors, including the Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, Gmail creator Paul Buchheit and Daiya Foods' former chairman Eric Patel.
According to company co-founder Aylon Steinhart, the company is following the same playbook at Beyond Meat to get its "cowlessly creamy" product into retail and foodservice. This means that the ice cream producer is focusing specifically on taste, price and availability over other considerations such as nutrition and sustainability, according to previous reporting on Steinhart. While such a stance could be seen as counterproductive for the advancement of plant-based as a more sustainable alternative, due to Eclipse’s ingredients list, there is no doubt about its commitment to the plant-based movement. As such, it will appeal to consumers looking for plant-based products that are replacements for animal-based equivalents.
While Eclipse is now focusing more intently on retail and DTC, the original plan for the company was to conquer foodservice and sell its ice cream in fastfood chains across the U.S. However, Steinhart told The Spoon that the pandemic has limited the company’s ability to scale in that sector and they have therefore shifted their focus to selling to consumers directly. As part of that strategy, in addition to releasing new ice cream flavors, Eclipse is planning to expand its retail locations outside of the east and west coasts to other regions in the U.S.
Despite its roster of big name investors and its novel approach to animal-free dairy, Eclipse is competing in a market that is becoming increasingly crowded. There are plenty of plant-based ice creams made from a variety of nuts, many of which are legacy brands like So Delicious and Coconut Bliss, as well as more modern startups such as Perfect Day that are creating replacements for animal dairy using fermented yeast strains.
In such an environment Eclipse will need to continue to find methods to stand out among the crowd. By focusing on taste it has a good chance of doing so as many studies have repeatedly shown that product taste remains the number one barrier for consumers to adopt plant-based products into their lives.
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