Dr Pepper float tradition needs dairy-free option

While many students may enjoy Dr Pepper floats, there are a group of students who are excluded from participating in a decades-long Baylor tradition. Students who are allergic to dairy, lactose intolerant or do not consume dairy products for religious or personal beliefs may never have experienced Dr Pepper Hour at Baylor.

Baylor’s Dr Pepper Hour dates back to 1953 and is held every Tuesday from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. in the Bill Daniel Student Center. It is a time for students, faculty and staff to socialize and build community over a Dr Pepper float.

One of the key ingredients in a Dr Pepper float is vanilla ice cream, which contains various types of milks, such as whole and skim.

In the present day, companies have come up with non-dairy frozen dessert, which cannot be marketed as ice cream because the dairy industry would have a cow. This non-dairy frozen dessert is often times made of soy, coconut, cashew, almond or oat milk, all of which can satisfy someone who is dairy-free.

According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, 65% of the world’s population has a “reduced ability to digest lactose.” While lactose intolerance may not be as severe as an allergy, it can still cause pain and discomfort among individuals who experience an intolerance.

There are also Baylor students who are vegan or would like to limit their dairy consumption as much as possible for health or environmental benefit. Because there has been an increase in students who are dairy-free or would like to limit the amount of dairy they consume and there has been an increase in the dairy-free options on the market, Baylor has no reason not to provide dairy-free Dr Pepper floats to students.

By offering a dairy-free Dr Pepper float, Baylor would be including all members of the community, whether that be students, faculty or staff, in a time-honored tradition. It would make people with allergies and dietary restrictions not feel excluded and know that Baylor cares for them too.

Cassie Nataro
Statistics major