It is estimated that approximately 68 percent of the world’s population experience lactose malabsorption, however, not all of those who encounter negative symptoms of dairy intolerance are lactose intolerant. In some cases, the symptoms may also derive from an intolerance to the A1 protein often found in cow’s milk.
ReThink, the first completely tummy-friendly ice cream brand from the US, believe that they have found a way for those who are unable to consume dairy products, due to one or both of the aforementioned issues, to continue to enjoy dairy ice cream.
We spoke with George Haymaker, Founder of ReThink Ice Cream, to learn more about what goes into making a completely tummy-friendly ice cream, and why addressing both causes of dairy intolerance, not just lactose, may be key to providing consumers with dairy ice cream that won’t negatively affect their stomach.
ReThinking Ice Cream
When ReThink founder, George Haymaker, began his addiction recovery journey over 10 years ago and tried to apply his recovery principles into his diet, he realized that sweet treats - ice cream in particular - was starting to become a new addiction, so George began searching for a healthier ice cream to enjoy, that would give him the same satisfaction in terms of taste and texture, but with less calories and sugar. When he was not able to find any on the market at the time, he set out to create his own, and thus, ReThink Ice Cream was born.
ReThink was created in 2018 and the brand name was inspired by George’s journey of rethinking his lifestyle and diet choices following his addiction, as well as rethinking the way in which the ice cream he enjoyed was made in order to align with his new better-for-you lifestyle. The focus of the brand’s path to success has been in formulating a more authentic and responsible ice cream with reduced sugar and fat levels that is completely tummy-friendly and therefore suits a much wider range of customers. Given that they have now doubled their sales since starting out, it looks like demand for tummy-friendly ice cream is proving popular.
“The challenge is in making ice cream still taste delectable after reducing the fat and sugar. Our journey has been all about learning how to make ice cream taste great while being more responsible for our health, and after three years of hard work, we are happy that we have achieved that with ReThink“ - George Haymaker
The brand now has 10 flavors to its name including Chocolate Majesty, Vanilla Supreme, Coffee Hazelnut, Mint with Chocolate Flakes, Cardamom Pistachio, Lemon Poppy Seed, Black Cherry Vanilla, Almond with Chocolate Flakes, Strawberry Chia Seed and Chocolate Almond Butter.
All flavors are available in 14oz pints for retail, but they also have four flavors which come in a 4oz cup suitable for foodservice outlets such as hospitals, health clubs, universities etc.
What Makes ReThink Tummy-Friendly?
ReThink Ice Cream says they are the first completely tummy-friendly ice cream in the US market and likely also the first in the world. The brand’s formulation addresses three major health issues affecting consumers today. Firstly, they combat some of the leading causes of dairy intolerance by using lactose-free A2/A2 dairy in their pints.
“During sample tastings in the beginning of our journey, we were surprised to learn just how many people were reducing or eliminating their dairy intake. When we looked into the why behind this trend, the primary driver was stomach issues which led us down the path of creating a completely tummy-friendly dairy ice cream”.
A2/A2 dairy comes from cows that produce only the natural A2 protein. ReThink ice cream is produced from an A2 cow herd based in California. Historically, cows only produced this A2 protein, but over time, a natural mutation occurred creating a new variant known as A1 protein. Consumer digestion issues may often be related to either an intolerance to lactose, or the type of proteins included in their milk products. Studies have suggested that milk produced from A2 protein is easier on digestion and may help to reduce negative stomach issues in some consumers.
Secondly, ReThink ice creams have a low glycemic load which allows diabetic and pre-diabetic consumers to also enjoy their ice cream without worrying about sugar spikes. Other better-for-you ice creams on the market use sugar alcohols like erythritol to reintroduce the sweet taste after eliminating sugar, however, this can sometimes cause stomach upset which conflicts with ReThink’s tummy-friendly goal. To avoid this, the brand has reduced sugar levels by 70% by incorporating an organic agave sweetener that doesn’t negatively affect the stomach and is sweeter than regular sugar so they can use less of it in their pints.
Thirdly, their tummy-friendly solution provides great value for money as it includes additional health supplements in each pint. Alongside the aforementioned benefits relating to easier digestion and low sugar, ReThink is also keto-friendly, gluten-free, and made with marine collagen, whey isolate protein and prebiotic fiber for added health benefits to support a healthier gut.
The addition of all of these health supplements is what improves the molecular structure of the ice cream that is typically lost with the removal of sugar and fat. This allows their ice cream to still have the decadent and authentic real taste and texture of traditional dairy ice cream.
What is ReThink thinking of next?
The brand is highly committed to quality and continuous improvement, and are constantly reassessing their flavors, textures, inclusions, and packaging options, proven by their recent packaging innovation and branding refresh.
They are also flexible in their flavor innovations when it comes to customer requirements and are able to adapt products and flavors to suit your local market, e.g. green tea or coconut matcha ice cream flavors could perform really well in the Philippines or Chinese retail.
How can the INNODELICE network support ReThink’s growth?
ReThink is open to beginning new branded partnership contracts and conversations year-round with suppliers, manufacturers and customers from around the world, in particular the Asian markets where dairy-free products are in great demand due to the higher level of lactose intolerance experienced by Asian consumers. They are currently launching in the Singapore market with Cold Storage, one of Singapore’s largest retailers, and hope to expand their base in other Asian countries like China moving forward.
They currently carry out all of their manufacturing from their US base in California but are open to conversations with manufacturers in export markets who may be looking to expand their product portfolio and who can secure a suitable A2/A2 dairy source nearby that can manage the demand and potential scaling opportunities in that market.
ReThink would also like to connect further with potential suppliers as they increase their flavor, inclusion, and product opportunities and innovations in the near future. Suppliers with a strong focus on clean labels and premium products would be a great fit.
How can you start collaborating with ReThink?
If you think there could be possible collaboration opportunities with ReThink, we can facilitate an introduction so that you can discuss further. You can learn more about the ReThink brand here on our website, and if you are interested in discussing potential partnership opportunities together, you can reach out to Nicolas on firstname.lastname@example.org or Andrea on email@example.com and we will connect you.
Founded by former executives in the Ice Cream industry, INNODELICE aims to create a worldwide ecosystem of solutions within the frozen dessert industry. Thanks to the relationships fostered by INNODELICE, manufacturers, brands, importers, distributors and suppliers can discover, buy and sell solutions to GROW their business. These solutions include co-manufactured and branded products as well as innovative and competitive ingredients, packaging and services. Our collaboration model generates lower costs and fewer risks for our participating partners while optimising their time to market. To learn more about INNODELICE, contact Nicolas MARIE (firstname.lastname@example.org), Andrea MONTREUIL (email@example.com) or visit www.innodelice.com.