Ice cream giant Ben & Jerry’s is giving the classic flavors of oatmeal pie a new life in its newest non-dairy pint. This week, the newest pint to join Ben & Jerry’s line-up is Non-Dairy Oatmeal Dream Pie, a gluten-free flavor that features an indulgent base of sunflower butter, vegan marshmallow swirls, and sizable chunks of oatmeal cookies. 

The oatmeal cream pie was popularized in the 1960’s by snack company Little Debbie. However, this classic snack cake is not vegan as it contains milk and eggs. For its vegan interpretation, Ben & Jerry’s turned to cookie brand Partake which created a custom cookie just for the flavor, which eats just like a frozen version of the nostalgic snack cake. 

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“Foodie fans can rejoice this new version of our nostalgic offering,” Flavor Guru, Chris Rivard, who helped to shepherd the project with Partake, said in a statement. “We’re thrilled to partner with high-end suppliers who provide the incredible chunks and swirls fans expect from Ben & Jerry’s, and this flavor truly delivers.”

The new Oatmeal Dream Pie flavor is joining the Ben & Jerry’s non-dairy flavor lineup and the company hopes it finds appeal with fans of long-discontinued flavor Oatmeal Cookie Chunk. 

Ben & Jerry’s most inclusive flavor yet  

Denise Woodard founded Partake in 2016 to help her young daughter Vivienne—who was diagnosed with multiple allergies—partake in snacking with other children. “Think about your core memories,” Woodard tells VegNews. “Many are formed around special occasions, treats, and shared experiences. They’re moments in which, most often for better or worse, you feel included or excluded.” 

“When my daughter was diagnosed with multiple food allergies in 2016, I fast-forwarded in my mind to the special moments she’d have, and my heart sank,” she says. “Would she be left out? The ‘allergy kid with the allergy snacks?’” 

Driven by this desire, Woodard left her career at Coca-Cola to bootstrap Partake, first by selling vegan cookies from her car and demoing the brand to merchandisers. “I set out to ensure [Vivienne], and the millions of people feeling excluded for their dietary restrictions, had delicious foods to eat,” Woodard says. 

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In 2019, the entrepreneur’s vegan cookies and mission of inclusivity caught the attention of music legend Jay-Z who supported Partake in a ​​$1 million investment round led by his Marcy Venture Partners (MVP) capital firm. Since then, Partake—which also counts musical artist Rihanna as an investor—has developed multiple product lines, expanded distribution to thousands of retailers, and in October, closed an additional $11.5 million funding round which featured a majority Black, brown, and/or female investors. 

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For her collaboration with Ben & Jerry’s, Woodard developed the vegan cookie mix-in with deep molasses and brown sugar flavors which are perfectly complemented by the ice cream’s sunflower butter base and vegan marshmallow swirl—reminiscent of the creme filling inside Little Debbie’s famous snack cakes. 

“I am delighted that, in partnership with Ben & Jerry’s, we’ve given gluten-free and vegan consumers another way to celebrate the joy in every day with this nostalgic, delicious flavor made with our Oatmeal cookies,” Woodard says. 

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While the ice cream company often launches new pints in both dairy and non-dairy varieties, the Oatmeal Dream Pie comes exclusively in a vegan formulation, created to compliment Woodward’s overarching mission at Partake to make foods that everyone can enjoy regardless of dietary restrictions. 

“Inclusivity is the secret ingredient in Ben & Jerry’s newest 2023 flavor—Oatmeal Dream Pie,” Sean Greenwood, the “Grand Poobah” of PR at Ben & Jerry’s, tells VegNews. “It is important that we use our business as the most powerful force in society to address issues of equity.” 

The Oatmeal Dream Pie flavor—which will be available in pints and at scoop shops—is the vegan option among Ben & Jerry’s three forthcoming pie-themed releases in 2023.

Ben & Jerry’s makes history with vegan ice cream

Prior to announcing the Oatmeal Dream Pie flavor, Ben & Jerry’s worked with legendary director Ava DuVernay to create a historic ice cream flavor. DuVernay is best known for her social justice films 13th, Selma, and Wrinkle in Time, created to advance public awareness and conversation around systemic racism. 

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DuVernay reached out to Ben & Jerry’s amid a public conversation about how the company had yet to feature a Black woman in an ice cream flavor. Together, the duo crafted the newly released Lights! Caramel! Action by Ava DuVernay, which the famed director made sure was available in an almond milk-based non-dairy format in addition to dairy. 

DuVernay took an active role in crafting the flavor, which was created around her love of cookies. The final formulation of the historic flavor features swirls of salted caramel and graham crackers along with gobs of chocolate chip cookie dough. 

Proceeds from the new flavor benefit ARRAY Alliance, a multi-pronged collaborative founded by DuVernay with the mission of helping POC, particularly women, gain access to the many facets of the film industry. 

Throughout its nearly 45 years in operation, Ben & Jerry’s has supported a variety of causes and organizations with its ice cream flavors. Since launching its first almond milk-based ice cream line in 2016, Ben & Jerry’s non-dairy flavors have also supported important causes. 

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In addition to DuVernay, Ben & Jerry’s collaborated with racial justice activist Colin Kaepernick for the 2020 release of Change the Whirled. This flavor also features a sunflower butter base and is loaded with fudge chips, graham cracker swirls, and chocolate cookie swirls. A portion of the proceeds here go to support Know Your Rights Camp, a racial justice organization Kaepernick founded in 2016 in Oakland, CA to advance the liberation and well-being of Black and Brown communities.

“Our racial justice work over the past six years has helped inform us where we, as an aspiring social justice company, need to continue to improve,” Greenwood says. “Supporting gender and racial equity is one area in our values-led sourcing initiative where we can realize a positive impact. For a value-led business, building on responsible sourcing is an oatmeal dream come true.”

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