Chicago Vegan Foods (CVF) will launch gelatin-free vegan marshmallow cream in stores under its Dandies brand from summer 2022. Following its 20th anniversary, CVF presented the marshmallow cream at the Natural Products Expo East, the world’s largest natural product fair.
Dandies’ new vegan marshmallow cream is designed to meet long-standing customer demand for spreadable marshmallow fluff, is free of the eight major allergens, including soy, and is made from certified vegan sugar. Unlike other puffy marshmallow products from the Dandies brand, the latest addition to the CVF line is also carrageenan-free and represents the first offshoot of its core line of solid vegan marshmallows.
“This is a product I’ve been looking forward to for a long time and a product that I know our customers wanted to see,” CVF founder Dan Ziegler told VegNews. “It is the first product of its kind on the vegan market.”
CVF also unveiled new maple-flavored Dandies mini marshmallows at the convention, due to hit stores in January 2022.
Dandies’ vegan marshmallow heritage
Ziegler and Ryan Howard founded CVF in 2001 and initially launched the brand with Temptation Vegan Frozen Dessert and Tease Vegan Cheese. In 2010, CVF first launched Dandies as the first vegan marshmallow. Since then, CVF Dandies has innovated to add seasonal flavors like peppermint, pumpkin and the upcoming maple. Driven by the success of Dandies and the explosion of the herbal market, CVD has grown 40-fold over the past 10 years. Although the brand is primarily sold in the US and Canada, Dandies expanded overseas in all ASDA stores in the UK late last year.
“We started in my tiny basement and now produce in our own 40,000 square foot, fully vegan facility,” Howard said in a statement. “We can make over 18 tons of marshmallows a day, which equates to over 100 miles of marshmallows strung together.”
While the brand’s new marshmallow cream is a novel product, CVF has already explored interesting marshmallow concepts with other brands. During last year’s holiday season, Dandies teamed up with Elmhurst (a former dairy company that transformed into a vegan milk brand in 2016) to create a DIY Ultimate Hot Chocolate Kit, the Elmhurst Chocolate Milked Oats and Original Milked Oats, Dandie’s Vanilla Mini Marshmallows; Four Sigmatic Mushroom Cacao Mix packets, Enjoy Life semi-sweet mini chocolate chips and a cup.
Why Most Marshmallows Are Not Vegan
Most commercial marshmallows are made with gelatin, which makes them neither vegan nor vegetarian. Gelatin is typically obtained from the cooked connective tissue of pig or cow bones, ligaments and tendons. And while some marshmallow fluffs don’t contain gelatin, their fluffy texture is typically derived from egg white, which also doesn’t make them vegan.
Fortunately, pectin and other non-animal ingredients are viable substitutes for animal gelatin. Food technology companies like Geltor from Silicon Valley are also working to replace traditional gelatin with bioidentical gelatin made without animal products.
Aside from CVF’s Dandies, there are a few other brands that make vegan marshmallows, including Yummallo, which launched its marshmallows made from sugar, cornstarch, rice protein, and vanilla in Walmart stores in April. Trader Joe’s also has its own branded vegan marshmallows in its stores, and ice cream brand Ben & Jerry’s has created a new marshmallow swirl for a vegan version of its iconic phish food taste, which launched earlier this year.
Photo credit: Sarah McLaughlin for VegNews
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