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Hood’s Planet Oat is hot on frozen desserts

The Lynnfield company hopes to build on the success of its top-selling oat milk with a product that mimics ice cream.

The Planet Oat brand is launching pints of non-dairy ice cream in six flavors, including blueberry oat crumble and coffee fudge swirl.Planet Oat

Planet Oat — HP Hood’s first standalone plant-based brand — will launch a line of frozen desserts this month, building on the success of its oat milk, which is now the top-selling brand in the country.

Planet Oat, based in Lynnfield, will sell pints of oat milk “ice cream” in six flavors, including staples like vanilla and chocolate, and more exotic options such as blueberry oat crumble and coffee fudge swirl.

Chris Ross, vice president of marketing for Hood said he expects the product to appeal to ice cream lovers — not just vegans — who are looking to move away from dairy, but still want the rich taste of the real thing.

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“You want that full, indulgent experience — you don’t want to feel like you are making trade-offs, because it becomes a let down,” he said. “We designed this product for ice cream lovers.”

The 174-year-old company is entering the frozen dessert market with oat milk as cow milk sales continue to decline nationwide. Cow milk sales fell to about $12 billion last year from $15 billion in 2015, while oat milk sales have skyrocketed 662 percent to almost $60 million, according to data from research firm Nielsen.

“We saw some of the same dynamics going on [with milk and ice cream],” Ross said. “You have a shrinking category, and millennials and Gen X-ers looking for something different — we saw that there was an opportunity to extend Planet Oat.”

Planet Oat will join Oatly and So Delicious Dairy Free, who also offer oat milk ice cream in the frozen food aisle.

The global dairy-free ice cream market is valued at $455.9 million and is expected to reach $1.2 billion by 2025, according to a 2019 report from Grand View Research.

Locally, J.P. Licks debuted a line of oat milk ice cream in the fall, which included chocolate, vanilla, and pumpkin flavors.

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“Especially with the trends of keto, whole food, and vegan diets, the demand for dairy-free ice cream has definitely increased over the years,” J.P. Licks production manager Elizabeth Otissaid.

The company also makes coconut and soy ice cream, but Otis said oats gave less of a background flavor in the final product. The company plans to release new oat milk ice cream flavors in March.

Oat milk ice cream lines come as Dunkin’ and Starbucksrecently announced their plans to put oat milk on their menus this year ― news Ross hopes will make oat milk more mainstream.

"If you are up on your trends, you are exposed to oat milk, but for the other 95 percent of the population, they are just hearing about it,” he said.


Anissa Gardizy can be reached at anissa.gardizy@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @anissagardizy8 and on Instagram @anissagardizy.journalism.