JD’s Vegan – the dairy-free ice cream brand owned by music producer Jermaine Dupri – is extending its range across hundreds of Walmart stores in the US. It’s part of the company’s mission to make healthy eating more accessible.
JD’s Vegan is welcoming three new flavors to its lineup: Chocolate My Way, described as ultra-rich and decadent; Key Lime Pie, with crunchy graham crackers; and (404) Cookies & Cream, made of chopped cream-filled chocolate cookies.
They join the brand’s existing options: Welcome to Atlanta, Peach Cobbler; Apple Butter; and Strawberry Sweetheart.
The queerly named desserts are references to Dupri’s musical backlog. Chocolate My Way is a nod to Usher’s My Way, while Strawberry Sweetheart refers to Mariah Carey’s Sweetheart (Dupri produced both songs).
Further, the cobbler ice cream flavor is a shout out to Dupri’s 2002 track, Welcome to Atlanta, featuring Ludacris.
The dairy-free desserts are available across 736 Walmart stores across the US, with a further 300 stores to be added in the spring.
“I cannot wait to bring the entire lineup of these exceptionally delicious flavors into Walmart stores,” Dupri said in a statement.
“Giving people the chance to experience their favorite traditional ice cream flavors in a healthy, 100 percent dairy-free format is major. These ice creams are the real deal and will make you fall in love with plant-based eating,” the recording artist added.
Jermaine Dupri and veganism
Each ice cream is made using coconut, and is free from GMOs and artificial flavors. Nutrition is at the core of JD’s Vegan’s mission statement, which is apt given Dupri’s journey into plant-based living.
The Grammy Award winner – who has also worked with Jay-Z, Destiny’s Child, and Janet Jackson, among others – first tried out a plant-based diet nearly 20 years ago.
Upon ditching animal products, Dupri experienced a “health high that has lasted ever since,” a press release reveals.
Speaking to Mashed about his diet, the rapper explained: “I just fell in love with feeling good and feeling healthy and knowing that I’m healthy … I want to at least know I’m healthy on a lot of different fronts and being vegan allows you to be that.”
Lack of options
But after making the change, Dupri felt that vegans were not provided with enough food choices.
“It’s like when I go to restaurants … at the end, and it’s like, ‘[Do] you want dessert?’ And I’m like, ‘I’m sure you guys don’t have anything for me.’ That’s what I automatically say. And they usually say, ‘Yeah, we got a fruit plate.’ I don’t want no fruit plate. I didn’t come in to eat no fruit plate. I just ordered a $200 meal. I don’t want a fruit plate after $200,” he said to Mashed.
Food producers weren’t reacting quickly enough for Dupri’s taste, he suggested to the publication.
“There’s a lot of people that really shun us vegans and try to make a scene. We are like the outcasts and give them some grass. ‘They don’t want to eat a real steak, so just throw them whatever,’” he explained.
It’s part of the reason Dupri is so passionate about his own plant-based company.
“And that’s the one thing I want everybody to know about this ice cream launch and anything that happens at JD’s Vegan. I am vegan. You don’t have to worry about anybody else. I’m the person that’s vegan. So if the brand doesn’t taste right to me, it will not come out,” he said.
“As a vegan, I’ve been shunned away from having deliciousness, if that’s a word.”
But the dairy-free desserts aren’t just for vegans; Dupri hopes the range will motivate non-vegans to try the lifestyle too.
“… Hopefully, it will start to sway people to understand. Eat this [JD Vegan Key Lime Pie ice cream]. Although it’s the dessert, it’s a hundred times healthier than you eating the other [non-vegan] dessert that you would probably eat,” the producer said. “And that’s all I want people to understand. Give yourself a bit, a longer life chance.”
The new JD’s Vegan flavors will be available in January from Walmart in the US, as well as jdsvegan.com