Most customers are still surprised to find out that Happy Cow Dairy Free Ice Cream is made in Hong Kong. In fact, Happy Cow Dairy operates the only kosher + dairy-free + low-GI ice cream factory in Asia! Their factory used to be a wine cellar and it can produce up to 200 litres a day or 500 pints. Wow! That’s a lot of ice cream!
Even though they have grown tremendously in the past two years, what is also surprising is that most everything is still done by hand: from attaching the flavour labels to filling the cups by hand to vacuum-sealing the lids on.
There are only three people working five days a week to supply 70+ (and growing!) retail locations across Hong Kong! They sell the most Happy Cow at CitySuper! IFC, Just Green in Soho, Organic Plus on Caine Road and The Bottle Shop in Sai Kung. Interestingly, the single-serve cups outsell the pints by a long shot!
The most popular regular flavors are Chocolate and Pure Coconut, whilst the most popular seasonal flavour is Hibiscus Goji. Founders Lacey and Isaac each have their own picks too: her favourite flavors are Cherry Almond Fudge & Salted Caramel Swirl and his is Mint Chip.
The most difficult flavors to make are the ones with the fudge swirls- the swirls are quite labour-intensive to create and they hand-swirl the ice cream.
One of their biggest challenges as a small business is logistics- getting frozen goods delivered here, there and everywhere is a complex affair, especially given the humidity levels in Hong Kong.
Sourcing wise, they had a hard time finding the right chocolate chips. Organic, refined sugar-free, gluten-free, kosher vegan chocolate chips suppliers are few and far between. They also use sugar-free fruit purees exclusively, and those are also tough to find- most fruit purees have added sugar in them.
The best part of their job is two-fold: they get to eat an unlimited amount of yummy vegan ice cream, which is the very reason they first created Happy Cow (they could not find any dairy-free ice cream in Beijing), and they find it incredibly rewarding to know that their ice cream changes the lives of people who are allergic to dairy, who keep kosher, who are vegan, who are diabetic, who are allergic to soy or gluten-free…
Want to know more? Check out our Green Queen Heroes piece on the Happy Cow founders and read our ode to their pioneering ice cream.
2016 Update: Isaac & Lacey Goldstein are no longer involved in Happy Cow.
All photos Green Queen’s own.