Why Jermaine Dupri Created A Vegan Ice Cream - Exclusive

Music entrepreneur, songwriter, and hip-hop artist Jermaine Dupri switched to the vegan diet 16 years ago to improve his health. Since then, he's been a passionate cheerleader for the lifestyle by promoting its benefits to the body and the mind. In an exclusive interview with Mashed, Dupri revealed his inspiration for recently creating a line of vegan ice creams, called JD's Vegan

Because Dupri is constantly on-the-go, when he's in a new city, he will always check out a restaurant that's been recommended for vegan food. Most of the time, though, he said he was disappointed by the shabby offerings, including the lack of sweets that would normally come at the end of the meal. "I'm pretty much a connoisseur of knowing what we don't have in the marketplace," he said. Adding to his frustration has been the total lack of desserts for vegans. As Dupri said, almost always he is offered a 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." 

What Dupri really has been craving is ice cream, and he came up with the idea to make his own, thinking it would be relatively easy to find a business partner to work with him on developing a vegan version. But it turned out to be a challenge. "I've been screaming at people at the top of my lungs, 'Hello. I'm here! Can we do some business?'" he said. Dupri's calls largely went unheeded because, as he said, the companies he approached didn't think that vegan ice cream was a viable business.

JD's Vegan Ice Cream is very personal for Jermaine Dupri

In fact, Jermaine Dupri increasingly discovered that, at many restaurants, vegans were shunned and treated like they only eat salads. The overall opinion of the restaurant chefs whom he encountered was basically, "'They don't want to eat a real steak, so just throw them whatever,'" Dupri recalled in a recent interview with Mashed. Eventually, he found the right person to help create his vegan ice cream, Malcom Stogo, a foodservice consultant whose personal vision has changed the ice cream-making process, per the New York Times. As the vegan ice creams were being developed, Dupri was very much hands-on and tasted every flavor, usually many times, until it tasted as he wanted it. 

One unique flavor they came up with is Apple Butter, and even we at Mashed can honestly say it's one of the best and most unusual ice creams we've tasted. Apple butter is Dupri's favorite spread to slather onto biscuits, and he feels deeply attached to this flavor because he created what he believes is the first one. "I don't believe I've seen apple butter ice cream. ...If somebody else has an apple butter ice cream that's not vegan, they got that from me," he saId.

Sensitive that some people might think he's cashing in on his name, Dupri was adamant that he's not trying to make a zillion bucks from the venture. His reasons, as he said, are actually altruistic. "I did it because I'm trying to live my life. And I feel like you can do the same."

All six flavors of Jermaine Dupri's vegan ice cream can be purchased from the JD's Vegan website and at Walmart.com and Walmart stores nationally in December.