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David Mintz (1931–2021), inventor of Tofutti vegan ice cream

by Linnea Crowther

David Mintz was the inventor of Tofutti, the first commercially successful vegan ice cream.

Creating Tofutti

Mintz began working to formulate a creamy non-dairy frozen dessert in 1972, after discovering tofu as it began to take off as a health food in the U.S. He was working with the goal of creating an ice cream suitable for the kosher market, as Jewish law forbids dairy products from being served at the same meal as meat. It took Mintz nine years to perfect Tofutti, which then quickly grew in popularity from its initial audience in the observant Jewish community. Embraced by vegetarians and vegans as well as the health-conscious, Tofutti was a hit, and Mintz created more non-dairy products to substitute for staples including sour cream, cream cheese, cheese slices, and ice cream bars.

Notable quote

“No one becomes successful without working hard. And you can become successful no matter how old you are – even if you’re 100. The Talmud says you’re never too old. There are so many opportunities. There’s gold in the streets, but you have to dig for it.” —from a 2009 interview with Jewish Standard

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Tributes to David Mintz

Full obituary: Grub Street

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