Today's ice cream eaters want it all. In a crowded and competitive freezer aisle, some consumers look for brands that distinguish themselves with innovative new flavors. Some want fewer calories and cleaner labels.
Large signs touting "Toft's 'One Quality'" and "Ohio's Oldest Dairy" greet visitors to Toft Dairy's 74,500-square-foot dairy plant/headquarters facility in Sandusky, Ohio. Those two messages amply describe the family-owned company's heritage.
Each innovative modification of ice cream mix processing must consider what is to be modified and the influence (+/-) on multiple-unit operations (i.e., assembly of amount/type of ingredients, creation of a uniform mix, pasteurization, homogenization, mix aging). Each operation has its own set of influences (+/-) on the chemistry and physics of any given mix going forward into other downstream processes.
Consumers' love affair with ice cream is global in scope. In fact, the global ice cream market size was valued at US$54.80 billion in 2016 and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 4.1% between 2018 and 2025, according to a January 2018 report from San Francisco-based Grand View Research.
Need we remind ourselves, ice cream remains the only food produced with the express intent of being consumed frozen. Relevant "rules of engagement" (i.e., Mother Nature's rules of chemistry and physics) are not likely to change any time soon. Thus, contemplating the demands on any given ice cream mix relative to compositional changes under consideration is daunting.
The perception of any given added ice cream flavoring is influenced, for good or bad, by appearance, aroma, acidity, taste (sweet, salty, bitter, sour), texture (smooth, creamy, rich) and temperature, including appropriate temperature-related chemistries of any given flavor.
Ice cream formulation and processing have historically complied with the provisions of the U.S Standards of Identity (SOI) for Frozen Desserts with regard to composition, weight and, specifically, allowable ingredients.
Cedar Crest Ice Cream makes an impressive amount of ice cream in its 45,408-square-foot facility in Manitowoc, Wis. The plant currently produces approximately 26 million pounds of product annually. The company uses the space wisely and continues to upgrade equipment and technology as product demand increases.
Ice cream's recent comeback — which began in earnest last year — shows no signs of waning. Retail sales of ice cream in the United States rose a respectable 3.9% to $6.1 billion during the 52 weeks ending Aug. 6, 2017, according to data from Chicago-based Information Resources Inc. (IRI). Unit sales climbed 2.6% to 1.6 billion.