More than 120 ice cream industry professionals gathered in Scottsdale, Ariz., last month to discuss technology, and honor the most exciting new ideas and one of the most respected industry veterans.
IDFA Ice Cream Technology Conference, held March 1-3, included an ice cream flavor contest sponsored by Dairy Foods. Perry's Ice Cream, Akron, N.Y., walked off with the top honors in both competitions. Bruce Tharp, pres. of Tharp's Food Technology was presented with the International Ice Cream Assn.'s inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award.
"It was an excellent conference," said Gary Senyk,V.P., of research & quality assurance at Perry's. "And that's not just because we won the awards."
But Perry's did take first place in the Most Innovative Flavor category with its Banana's Foster. It was chosen from a field of seven contestants.
In the Favorite Light Ice Cream category, Perry's Light Vanilla won, which is part of a reformulated six-flavor Perry's Light Line that the company says has "half the fat and all the flavor" of regular ice cream. The Light category included five entrants.
Tharp was recognized for his decades of work and leadership in the industry.
After early teaching and research at the University of Wyoming and Ohio State University, Tharp managed the technical affairs of two major suppliers of high-tech dairy product ingredients.
He has achieved international recognition for his technical expertise and insights, and as an enthusiastic and authoritative lecturer at short courses, seminars, workshops and technical conferences around the world. Currently Adjunct Professor of Food Science at Penn State, Tharp has served as chief ice cream judge at the Intercollegiate Dairy Products Evaluation Contest for thirty years, and he co-author's Tharp & Young on Ice Cream for Dairy Foods.
IDFA's V.P. of Regulatory Affairs Cary Frye says it's fitting that Tharp should be the first recipient, and that it should be part of the Ice Cream Technology Conference.
"Bruce has been a contributor to the industry for decades," Frye said. "And for the last 7 or 8 years we have asked him to present at the conference and he has always participated."