Words and photography by Jennifer Bakos
If you live in the Boston area you are lucky to be close to the incredible plant based ice cream company known as FoMu (Faux-moo..get it? haha). The company was founded by husband and wife team Hin Tang and Deena Halal back in 2011 and has since flourished into one of the area's best vegan dessert stops. We sat down with Deena to chat about the business and where it all began.
Deena’s parents were entrepreneurs and there has always been something in her blood to want to work as a small business owner and to give back to the world and community some how. Deena also really loves food and really loves ice cream! She was already in a full time job after going to school for economics and business and the idea sprouted in her mind that she might want to start an ice cream shop. She has always found ice cream to be such an approachable and positive medium and thought it would be a good way to get into the food industry and starting a business of her own.
Deena dove head into the business right after she got married, and then found out she was pregnant, all while she was still working full time and working on the startup. Because she was beginning to start a family and becoming a mother for the first time, she began to think more about health and wellness and became a lot more conscious about what people put in their bodies and purchase off the shelves. She wanted to create a product that she could fully stand behind, support, and be excited to talk about.
After learning that the dairy industry was a very complicated one with many regulations and struggling to find ethically sourced diary for the ice cream, Deena decided to take a different route. She realized the ice cream shops in New England were very traditional and not many alternative options out there for people that were living diary free.
They worked with different bases, such as soy, and nut bases but nothing gave it that amazing creaminess that ice cream has, until they tried a coconut milk base, which was the true winner. For the first year FoMu sold to local restaurants to have on their menus while they were building out their first space in Allston, MA. Business was going really well and they started distributing and shipping as well as being stocked in more stores and shops in the area. Now they have done a few pop up shops to test different areas and demographics through out the city.
The main focus of the FoMu products is that it is a scratch made, artisanal, plant-based ice cream with mostly locally sourced and all natural ingredients, but making it a product that everyone can enjoy. They have even expanded into baked goods like ice cream cakes and ice cream sandwiches and the shops are a good place to get a shake or a decent cup of coffee. The company also makes an effort to use compostable paper products and reusable and recyclable containers. Everything is vegan, certified Kosher, and everything they put in the ice cream (like cider donuts) are made in house.
Want some FoMu but don’t live in the Boston area? You can get a FoMu subscription to have different seasonal flavors shipped to you through out the year, and you can also have them cater your event! (Who wouldn’t want ice cream at their wedding or party?!)