Much of the growth is fueled by ample milk supply and limited competition, said Dale Buuck, vice president business development for Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership. He said that since so much milk is being processed into nonfat and low-fat milk products, there is excess cream. States like Wisconsin or California would use the cream for cheese or butter, but in Indiana “we’re using a lot of that cream for ice cream production,” Buuck said.
The region’s proximity to major markets like Chicago, Detroit, Columbus, Ohio, and Indianapolis combined with a network of rail and highways makes Northeast Indiana a pretty good area for ice cream production. Combine those factors with reasonable electric and natural gas rates, and “It has made it very economical to produce ice cream in Northern Indiana,” Buuck said.