posted May 25, 2021
by Laura Leal, VLCE
Starting a new business is like riding a roller coaster and not knowing when it will stop. What a ride—ups and downs all the time! The vegan ice cream business has been the most challenging business I have started so far, but also the most gratifying.
I’m convinced that passion and the desire to be in the business are the driving forces behind one’s success. When a customer says to me, “Wow! What a great flavor,” my reaction is always a big smile of a job well done!
I love ice cream! It has been my favorite dessert since childhood; I remember eating lots of cookies and cream ice cream during summer vacations. When I grew up, I got more interested in a healthier lifestyle and watching what I ate. This love of ice cream inspired me to learn how to make it, so I took a plant-based ice cream course. I became immersed in the vegan ice cream business in 2012, creating a new concept in Mexico, BōnMot Ice Cream, something even I wouldn’t have imagined would exist someday.
This has been a difficult road. In the beginning, people heard the word vegan and associated it with hippies or a sick person following a restricted diet. For vegans, vegan ice cream was a dream come true. These days, plant-based products are more accepted, but the market is not completely mature yet, especially in Mexico.
To understand where the vegan Mexican market is right now, I share the following comparison. People owning a vegan business in Mexico today are in a similar situation as those who open a business in a new development area in a city. Those who take that risk know they will have to wait some years until the area populates enough so their sales will pass their breakeven point. The first years are difficult, but once the area is mature enough, the business will reach its goals. Many businesses don’t survive those first years, some survive by working hard, and those who come and open later, when the area is mature enough, are more likely to be successful.
In Mexico, the vegan market is at the beginning stage, not mature enough. People are just starting to change their eating behaviors and getting more comfortable in consuming plant-based products. Nestlé declared that last year the alternative dairy market grew to $109.41 million, and it is predicted to reach $40.6 billion by 2026. “The use of plant products in food and beverages is really on the rise and I think it is very structural. I’ve been in business for many years and I’ve never seen a category grow so fast or so strongly,” Cédric Boehm, Nestlé’s Head of Dairy Europe, Middle East and North Africa, told the Financial Times.
Product releases by big companies help educate people in the consumption of vegan products. Some popular veganized products are the Nestlé Kit-Kat chocolate bar, Tyson plant-based sausages, Starbucks vegan drinks, etc. A company’s veganization promotes choosing a vegan product. Consciously, people are adopting a healthier lifestyle and choose to buy an alternative milk or other plant-based products at the supermarket. In my opinion, big companies are veganizing their popular products as a strategy to adapt to climate change to help save the planet. It is predicted that by 2050 there will not be enough water to support feeding our population, and people will have to adopt a plant-based diet.
Vegan ice cream is just a few years away from becoming an everyday dessert and not only the healthier and special occasion option. BōnMot ice cream, is the first vegan ice cream business in Mexico. We believe that something as great as ice cream has to be for everybody. This is why all of our ice creams are non-dairy, 100% Mexican Goodness, and hand-crafted with love in Monterrey, Mexico.
Laura Leal is a Main Street Vegan Academy graduate from Monterrey, Mexico. She has been a Chef instructor since 2006 and owns BōnMot Ice Cream and a restaurant, Common Bowlery. In the food business since 2001, Laura’s passion for food and teaching has always been fused. Her mission is to offer more plant-based options in the city throughout all of her businesses. You can follow her on Instagram @lauraleal_instituto and Facebook @Cheflauralealp.