Everyone likes a treat now and then. Ice cream is a ubiquitous favorite for many. But with dairy allergies and concern for the role dairy products play in the environment, many opt for ice cream alternatives.

Fortunately, there are many to choose from with bases like oat milk, coconut milk or almond milk. Many people even choose to make their own dairy-free ice cream at home. But is it really any better for the planet than a scoop of ice cream from cow’s milk? Generally, yes.

Related: Easy vegan ice cream recipes to enjoy all summer long

Cow footprints

We’re not talking about the hoofprint in the mud here. We’re talking about the massive amounts of resources it requires to maintain dairy cows. The food we grow for them to consume, the water they drink, the methane released from their poop — it all impacts the environment.

According to Our World in Data, raising dairy cows requires more than twice the water of rice, oat or soy. It even uses nearly two times the amount of higher-consuming almond plants. Cattle also require considerably more land than plants, with dairy cows eating up more than eight times the land requirements than oat. Soy, almond and rice milk all require even less land for success. In fact, dairy milk results in three times the amount of greenhouse gasses and more than twice the rate of destructive eutrophication. Plus, plants are much better for the health of the soil than dairy animals

Of course, we need everything in balance on this planet. Too much of one kind of plant strips the necessary biodiversity needed for equilibrium in the ecosystem. Similarly, too much emphasis on dairy or its elimination isn’t the answer either. 

What that means is everyone can enjoy ice cream, but do so with attention to packaging waste, ingredients and flavor. 

Ice cream cones upside down on a flat surface

We’ve covered some dairy-free options at Inhabitat before and recently had the opportunity to dig into another brand called Klimon. We found a unique assortment of flavors, great texture and an emphasis on the idea of “no dairy, no difference.”

The company is transparent with labeling. Ingredients are proudly listed on the website and on each container. Klimon dairy-free ice creams are 100% plant-based with a foundation of almond milk. It’s a brand that pushes flavor boundaries while pushing back against the effects of the dairy industry.

“We know that the continued dominance of animal-based products in the global marketplace is not sustainable for our planet in the long-term,” Klimon told Inhabitat.

Although the company feels it is important to create an alternative, it doesn’t want to make taste sacrifices in the process. While some customers may seek out the brand because it is dairy-free, gluten-free, egg-free, peanut-free, soy-free, vegan and vegetarian, others may just want to try something new.

“Our mission with Klimon is to provide consumers with a plant-based, affordable ice cream alternative that provides the same level of taste and quality as traditional ice cream,” Klimon explains. “We strive to be the bridge for those looking to convert to a more sustainable, plant-based lifestyle, without having to sacrifice the experience that they are accustomed to getting with animal-based products.

Ice cream pints with some opened

Klimon dairy-free ice cream review

The company sent five pints of their dairy-free ice cream, one in each available flavor. We had a tasting party with seven people. One person is lactose intolerant. Another is strictly vegan for health reasons. Everyone else had tasted dairy-free ice cream options intermittently in the past but primarily eats full dairy options. Ages ranged from 18-53 so there was a wide variety of opinions represented. It showed in the results. 

In general, everyone found a flavor they liked, but the order of preference varied wildly. However, everyone agreed the packaging represents decadence. We didn’t like the plastic containers, so we recommend you get a bit of extra use out of them by saving them for holiday leftovers your guests can take home.

We also agreed Klimon chose great flavor names and an inviting color appeal. Each flavor has a swirled look with appropriate variations suggested by the flavor names (orange, cherry, coffee and so on). Everyone agreed they probably wouldn’t know it was dairy-free. 

Mint Condition

Five of the seven of us gave this a top rating, even the one who traditionally doesn’t like mint. The two who didn’t care for it said it needs more flavor. The rest of us found it to be minty, chocolatey, sweet and balanced. 

Cherry Bomb

This was the overall second favorite. The two regular non-dairy eaters felt the cherries had a bit of an artificial taste that didn’t appeal to them, but both liked the creamy ice cream aspect. It was the first container to be empty. 

Caramel Brûlée

This is a very unique flavor. It was a hit with some and a miss with others. I had read reviews elsewhere describing it as an overwhelming burnt flavor. One of our tasters called it buttery. Another said it tasted just like crème brûlée. One rated it as their top choice. Overall, we found it a balanced and accurate depiction of a traditionally memorable dessert that not everyone appreciates.

Morning Brew

As an average, this landed as third or fourth in the rankings. Most described it as good but not amazing. Five of the seven said they would have it again but would choose other flavors first. All agreed it could have a stronger coffee flavor. It features a more predominantly almond flavor than other options.

Sunrise Bang

This was rated poorly by the entire group. I think we expected a creamsicle, and it just wasn’t that. One person said it was too almondy. Another described it as “chemically” and yet another as “weird.” It missed the mark for us, but we did all find something we would have again so this flavor might be just what another person is craving. Give it a try. If nothing else, it was a blast to do taste testing with a group and share opinions. 

+ Klimon 

Via Our World in Data 

Images via Klimon