Ice cream, America’s favorite treat, has been around for a very long time. It is believed that some form of ice cream dates back to 200 B.C. Folk lore has it that in the 1st Century, Roman Emperor Nero ordered his slaves to bring ice from the mountains to make his iced mixture with fruit topping. Since ice cream has evolved in one form or another for over more than 2000 years, what is in the future of the ice cream business?
An innovative product called “Dippin’ Dots” has already made pioneering advances in the freezing techniques of ice cream that may pave the way to a whole new ice cream of the future.
Curt Jones, a microbiologist and Founder and Chairman of Dippin’ Dots began using cryogenic encapsulation which uses extremely cold temperatures to freeze tiny beads of ice cream, yogurt and ice crystals. The quick deep freeze preserves the freshness of the flavor of the ice cream ingredients. The ingredients are fresh dairy products and fruity and exotic flavorings. Liquid nitrogen flash freezes the ingredients almost instantly. This cryogenic flash freezing process may put an end to the use of the huge ice cream hardening tunnels.
Another ice cream of the future may actually be semi-sold in form and will be kept in the refrigerator rather than the freezer. Since ice cream will be able to be kept in the refrigerator, then packaging will likely change.
Vending of frozen snacks and soft-serve premium and low-fat ice cream is a trend for the future. The vending machines will provide consumers healthy products in the workplace, public places and in schools. These pre-packaged single serving products are convenient and are already portioned for counting fat grams and calories.
It stands to reason that with the increased concern over the nations’ growing waistlines, the science of ice cream will constantly be involved in working to find a healthier ice cream that suits America’s palate, lasts longer, and costs less. Food science is constantly looking for fat substitutes that will replace the butterfat in ice cream. However, if there is no fat in ice cream, it couldn’t technically be called ice cream because there has to be a minimum of 10 percent fat in the ingredients.
Co-branding is a recent trend in ice cream that is expected to continue. Ice cream products are teamed up with other products like candy, chocolate, cookies, peanut butter, and coffee to make premium ice cream products. This has been a very popular marketing strategy that has brought attention to ice cream products and other products. The success of this partnering will entice manufacturers to continue this method into the future.
Ice cream has been around for over 2000 years and isn’t likely to go away very soon. With such longevity, perhaps it will be around for another 2000 years. It remains to be seen how the product will evolve over time. Will ice cream go full circle and go back to the original, healthier fat-free version of ice covered with fruit topping? But then it wouldn’t technically be ice cream.