n 2013, we made vegan Superman ice cream for our son’s 3rd birthday party. We had to borrow a small countertop ice cream maker to do it, but the feedback was pretty good!
We had been non-dairy for a few years and had sort of learned to live without ice cream. No local or store-bought vegan options had the fantastic flavors and creamy consistency we missed from dairy ice cream. There was always a sacrifice.
In addition most of the vegan ice creams on the market contained some kind of allergen, and we couldn’t share them with our many loved ones with food allergies.
We thought, is an allergy-friendly, creamy, delicious vegan ice cream possible?
Robb read the ice cream text books (that’s a thing) and invented a recipe that met all of our criteria. In 2014, we started making in our tiny home kitchen.
It worked! We had delicious, vegan ice cream, free of dairy, gluten, soy, peanuts, corn, eggs, and sesame, in flavors that excited us, like Maple Bourbon, Darkest Dark Chocolate, Cinnamon, and Volcano Salt Vanilla.
Both vegans and dairy eaters loved it and wanted to put it in their bellies. We needed more space, and bigger equipment!
Robb decided to devote himself full-time to Ice Cream Plant, and he discovered Eastern Market Community Kitchen in Shed 5 of Eastern Market in the heart of Detroit. Not only was it a fully functional kitchen that allowed us to scale up our operations, but it came with access to experienced chefs and owners of start-up food businesses, who provided invaluable advice and support (thanks, guys!!). We were even featured on the news!
Once we were licensed in September, 2016 the vegan restaurant community — many of our favorite local eateries — welcomed us with open arms. We then expanded to local high-end grocery and even in a scoop shop in Eastern Market! See the full, up to date list at icecreamplant.com.
These partnerships have meant everything to us (THANK YOU ALL)!
What started as a dream to get great ice cream to those who usually have to live without, is now real, serving businesses we admire all over Metro Detroit and Ann Arbor. We’ve also had wonderful help from stellar employees, friends and family along the way.
Our goal is to have our own allergen-free space, so that we can serve those with even the most severe allergies. Another sweet thing we’re doing this fall is moving to an organic, non-GMO cane sugar. We listened to our customers and found a carbon neutral source that meets our priorities and our customers’ needs. We also want to expand across Michigan and beyond, but we plan to stay in Detroit, because we hear it hustles harder.
This year has been amazing. We’ve learned a lot. We’ve grown and changed a lot. One thing that will not budge is our commitment to using clean, sustainable ingredients to make delicious, allergen-friendly, vegan ice cream for everyone.
Our son is now 6 years old and takes total credit for all parts of this ice cream business, since, at age 3, it was “his idea.” 😉
Thank you to everyone who has been on this journey with us, and please keep up your support! We love you! Thanks to John Azoni for any of the pretty pics on this page and our website. Thanks to Patrick Richardson, for our beautiful logo and all the artwork on our packaging, and to Alan Vultaggio at Unfolding Creative, for the printing of our packaging and signs! Thanks to MaryAnn Lapenta Stout for all her hard work and dedication in helping us grow.
Original design idea, drawn by Robb on napkin in Japanese restaurant in 2014.