Cool Whip has been a topping staple for desserts and no-bake pie recipes in the United States, winning the #1 spot as the most eaten brand of whipped topping in the country, according to Statista.
Referred to as a whipped topping by its manufacturer, Cool Whip is an imitation of whipped cream with a similar texture and flavor to whipped cream, but it manages to maintain its texture without melting over time.
Cool Whip was originally marketed as being non-dairy, but it turns out that wasn’t the case, since among the ingredients you could find sodium caseinate, which was derived from milk. However, that didn’t change and now Cool Whip contains skim milk, which makes Cool Whip a non-vegan product.
In this article, I’m going to look at the ingredients in Cool Whip in more detail by pointing out ingredients that are destructive to the environment (despite their plant-based origin), and I’ll also provide you with similar vegan alternatives, as well as a recipe of a vegan whipped topping you can make at home.
Ingredients in Cool Whip
From its introduction, Cool Whip was advertised as a “non-dairy” option even though it contained sodium caseinate, a milk derivative. From 2018 onwards, skim milk was added to the recipe.
Other than the milk derivatives, Cool Whip also contains palm oil — which is derived from palm fruit, whose demand is proven to be destructive to the environment.
Palm Oil Also Harms Animals In a Big Way
Palm oil is highly disregarded by most people (including some vegans), but evidence exists pointing to the fact that palm oil production is incredibly harmful to animal species.
While palm oil is derived from what is essentially a plant, the rate at which palm oil plantations spring into existence is too daunting to ignore. Creating palm oil plantations involves destroying acres of rainforest, which ruin ecosystems that are originally inhabited by a plethora of animal species.
To provide you with some hard science, according to Cell.com, 100,000 Bornean orangutangs were lost between 1999 and 2015 as a result of the growing palm oil demand.
This is the result of unsustainable exploitation of natural resources, and the video above shows us a sad but hard and excruciating look at the reality taking place.
Cool Whip Also Contains HFCS
Among the list of ingredients, you’re also able to find High Fructose Corn Syrup, also known as glucose-fructose, a sweetener made from corn starch that is negatively associated with today’s obesity epidemic. (1, 2)
While it’s a vegan ingredient, it’s present in one too many foods. Experts attribute its excessive intake to many serious health issues, which is why it should be avoided if possible.
Vegan Alternative to Cool Whip
Since we know that Cool Whip is not vegan and contains questionable ingredients, allow me to provide you with a vegan whipped cream alternative.
Soyatoo Soy Whip
The soy-based whipped cream by Soyatoo is a delightful vegan alternative without any additives, but while still providing a wonderful taste, fluffy, stable consistency that holds well over time.
Soyatoo Soy Whip can be found on Amazon in the form of pressurized cans or cartons, but keep in mind that those options are kept in separate listings.
How to Make Vegan Whipped Cream at Home
Truth be told, I’ve tried to find vegan whipped cream brands but the options were limited, which is why I want to point you to two recipes I believe are equally delicious.
Coconut Whipped Cream by The Minimalist Baker
Coconut whipped cream is a dairy-free alternative to classic whipped cream, which is made with good quality full-fat coconut milk or coconut cream, icing sugar (preferably organic), and vanilla extract.
This recipe is perfect for topping desserts such as pies, hot cocoa, shortcakes, mousse, and more.
Vegan Whipped Cream by Nora Cooks (No Coconut)
This vegan whipped cream is unique because it’s not made with fat coconut milk, an ingredient that seems to be common in vegan whipped recipes.
Alternatively, this recipe by Nora Cooks is made with aquafaba, cream of tartar, powdered sugar, and pure vanilla extract. If you’re not familiar with aquafaba, it’s essentially the water leftover from boiling chickpeas. The water found in canned chickpeas can also be used.
Summary: Cool Whip Is Not Vegan
Unfortunately, Cool Whip is not vegan because it contains ingredients such as sodium caseinate, which is a milk derivative and skim milk, which is low-fat milk. It also contains palm oil, which is often disregarded by most people but it’s a very harmful ingredient to animals, even though it’s plant-based.
If you want a store-bought alternative, Soyatoo Soy Whip seems to be a good vegan-friendly option, however, I’m not sure you’re able to find it in grocery stores nearby, or even co-ops. You can, however, find it on Amazon.
In my opinion, the best way to have vegan whipped cream is by making it at home. You only require three ingredients at most, and there are tons of easy and quick recipes out there, including the ones I’ve suggested.
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