In 1984, President Ronald Reagan designated July as National Ice Cream Month and the third Sunday of the month as National Ice Cream Day. He recognized ice cream as a fun and nutritious food that is enjoyed by a full 90 percent of the nation’s population. In the proclamation, President Reagan called for all people of the United States to observe these events with “appropriate ceremonies and activities.”
The International Ice Cream Association (IICA) encourages retailers and consumers to celebrate July as National Ice Cream Month. In 2014, National Ice Cream Day will be Sunday, July 20.
The U.S. ice cream industry generated total revenues of $10 billion in 2010, with take-home ice cream sales representing the largest section of the market, generating revenues of $6.8 billion or 67.7 percent of the market’s overall value. (Source: MarketLine, an Informa business)
About 9 percent of all the milk produced by U.S. dairy farmers is used to produce ice cream, contributing significantly to the economic well-being of the nation’s dairy industry.
Founded in 1900, IICA is the trade association for manufacturers and distributors of ice cream and other frozen dessert products. The association’s activities range from legislative and regulatory advocacy to market research, education and training. Its 80 member companies manufacture and distribute an estimated 85% of the ice cream and frozen dessert products consumed in the United States. IICA is a constituent organization of IDFA.
The Evolution of Ice Cream
Ice cream’s origins are known to reach back as far as the second century B.C., although no specific date of origin nor inventor has been undisputably credited with its discovery. We know that Alexander the Great enjoyed snow and ice flavored with honey and nectar. Biblical references also show that King Solomon was fond of iced drinks during harvesting. During the Roman Empire, Nero Claudius Caesar (A.D. 54-86) frequently sent runners into the mountains for snow, which was then flavored with fruits and juices.
Over a thousand years later, Marco Polo returned to Italy from the Far East with a recipe that closely resembled what is now called sherbet. Historians estimate that this recipe evolved into ice cream sometime in the 16th century. England seems to have discovered ice cream at the same time, or perhaps even earlier than the Italians. “Cream Ice,” as it was called, appeared regularly at the table of Charles I during the 17th century. France was introduced to similar frozen desserts in 1553 by the Italian Catherine de Medici when she became the wife of Henry II of France. It wasn’t until 1660 that ice cream was made available to the general public. The Sicilian Procopio introduced a recipe blending milk, cream, butter and eggs at Café Procope, the first café in Paris.
Ice Cream for America
The first official account of ice cream in the New World comes from a letter written in 1744 by a guest of Maryland Governor William Bladen. The first advertisement for ice cream in this country appeared in the New York Gazette on May 12, 1777, when confectioner Philip Lenzi announced that ice cream was available “almost every day.” Records kept by a Chatham Street, New York, merchant show that President George Washington spent approximately $200 for ice cream during the summer of 1790. Inventory records of Mount Vernon taken after Washington’s death revealed “two pewter ice cream pots.” President Thomas Jefferson was said to have a favorite 18-step recipe for an ice cream delicacy that resembled a modern-day Baked Alaska. Check out President Jefferson’s vanilla ice cream recipe here. In 1813, Dolley Madison served a magnificent strawberry ice cream creation at President Madison’s second inaugural banquet at the White House.
Until 1800, ice cream remained a rare and exotic dessert enjoyed mostly by the elite. Around 1800, insulated ice houses were invented. Manufacturing ice cream soon became an industry in America, pioneered in 1851 by a Baltimore milk dealer named Jacob Fussell. Like other American industries, ice cream production increased because of technological innovations, including steam power, mechanical refrigeration, the homogenizer, electric power and motors, packing machines, and new freezing processes and equipment. In addition, motorized delivery vehicles dramatically changed the industry. Due to ongoing technological advances, today’s total frozen dairy annual production in the United States is more than 1.6 billion gallons.
Wide availability of ice cream in the late 19th century led to new creations. In 1874, the American soda fountain shop and the profession of the “soda jerk” emerged with the invention of the ice cream soda. In response to religious criticism for eating “sinfully” rich ice cream sodas on Sundays, ice cream merchants left out the carbonated water and invented the ice cream “Sunday” in the late 1890’s. The name was eventually changed to “sundae” to remove any connection with the Sabbath.
Ice cream became an edible morale symbol during World War II. Each branch of the military tried to outdo the others in serving ice cream to its troops. In 1945, the first “floating ice cream parlor” was built for sailors in the western Pacific. When the war ended, and dairy product rationing was lifted, America celebrated its victory with ice cream. Americans consumed over 20 quarts of ice cream per person in 1946.
In the 1940s through the ‘70s, ice cream production was relatively constant in the United States. As more prepackaged ice cream was sold through supermarkets, traditional ice cream parlors and soda fountains started to disappear. Now, specialty ice cream stores and unique restaurants that feature ice cream dishes have surged in popularity. These stores and restaurants are popular with those who remember the ice cream shops and soda fountains of days past, as well as with new generations of ice cream fans.
The History of the Ice Cream Cone
For over a century, Americans have been enjoying ice cream on a cone. Whether it’s a waffle cone, a sugar cone or a wafer cone, what better way to enjoy a double scoop of your favorite flavor?
Making Its Appearance
The first ice cream cone was produced in 1896 by Italo Marchiony. Marchiony, who emigrated from Italy in the late 1800s, invented his ice cream cone in New York City. He was granted a patent in December 1903.
Although Marchiony is credited with the invention of the cone, a similar creation was independently introduced at the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair by Ernest A. Hamwi, a Syrian concessionaire. Hamwi was selling a crisp, waffle-like pastry — zalabis — in a booth right next to an ice cream vendor. Because of ice cream’s popularity, the vendor ran out of dishes. Hamwi saw an easy solution to the ice cream vendor’s problem: he quickly rolled one of his wafer-like waffles in the shape of a cone, or cornucopia, and gave it to the ice cream vendor. The cone cooled in a few seconds, the vendor put some ice cream in it, the customers were happy and the cone was on its way to becoming the great American institution that it is today.
A Business is Born
St. Louis, a foundry town, quickly capitalized on the cone’s success. Enterprising people invented special baking equipment for making the World’s Fair cornucopia cones.
Stephen Sullivan of Sullivan, Missouri, was one of the first known independent operators in the ice cream cone business. In 1906, Sullivan served ice cream cones (or cornucopias, as they were still called) at the Modern Woodmen of America Frisco Log Rolling in Sullivan, Missouri.
At the same time, Hamwi was busy with the Cornucopia Waffle Company. In 1910, he founded the Missouri Cone Company, later known as the Western Cone Company.
As the modern ice cream cone developed, two distinct types of cones emerged. The rolled cone was a waffle, baked in a round shape and rolled (first by hand, later mechanically) as soon as it came off the griddle. In a few seconds, it hardened in the form of a crisp cone. The second type of cone was molded either by pouring batter into a shell, inserting a core on which the cone was baked, and then removing the core; or pouring the batter into a mold, baking it and then splitting the mold so the cone could be removed with little difficulty.
In the 1920s, the cone business expanded. Cone production in 1924 reached a record 245 million. Slight changes in automatic machinery have led to the ice cream cone we know today. Now, millions of rolled cones are turned out on machines that are capable of producing about 150,000 cones every 24 hours.
How Ice Cream is Made
Everybody has a favorite flavor or brand of ice cream, and the debate over whose ice cream is the best rages on each year. While each manufacturer develops its own special recipes, ice cream production basics are basically the same everywhere.
The most important ice cream ingredients come from milk. The dairy ingredients are crucial in determining the characteristics of the final frozen product. Federal regulations state that ice cream must have at least 10% milkfat, the single most critical ingredient. The use of varying percentages of milkfat affects the palatability, smoothness, color, texture and food value of the finished product. Gourmet or superpremium ice creams contain at least 12% milkfat, usually more.
Ice cream contains nonfat solids (the non-fat, protein part of the milk), which contribute nutritional value (protein, calcium, minerals and vitamins). Nonfat dry milk, skim milk and whole milk are the usual sources of nonfat solids.
The sweeteners used in ice cream vary from cane or beet sugar to corn sweeteners or honey. Stabilizers, such as plant derivatives, are commonly used in small amounts to prevent the formation of large ice crystals and to make a smoother ice cream. Emulsifiers, such as lecithin and mono- and diglycerides, are also used in small amounts. They provide uniform whipping qualities to the ice cream during freezing, as well as a smoother and drier body and texture in the frozen form.
These basic ingredients are agitated and blended in a mixing tank. The mixture is then pumped into a pasteurizer, where it is heated and held at a predetermined temperature. The hot mixture is then “shot” through a homogenizer, where pressure of 2,000 to 2,500 pounds per square inch breaks the milkfat down into smaller particles, allowing the mixture to stay smooth and creamy. The mix is then quick-cooled to about 40°F and frozen via the “continuous freezer” method (the “batch freezer” method) that uses a steady flow of mix that freezes a set quantity of ice cream one batch at a time.
During freezing, the mix is aerated by “dashers,” revolving blades in the freezer. The small air cells that are incorporated by this whipping action prevent ice cream from becoming a solid mass of frozen ingredients. The amount of aeration is called “overrun,” and is limited by the federal standard that requires the finished product must not weigh less than 4.5 pounds per gallon.
The next step is the addition of bulky flavorings, such as fruits, nuts and chocolate chips. The ingredients are either “dropped” or “shot” into the semi-solid ice cream after it leaves the freezer.
After the flavoring additions are completed, the ice cream can be packaged in a variety of containers, cups or molds. It is moved quickly to a “hardening room,” where sub-zero temperatures freeze the product to its final state for storage and distribution.
Just the Facts
- About 1.53 billion gallons of ice cream and related frozen desserts were produced in the U.S. in 2011. Source: USDA, National Agriculture Statistics Service
- The U.S. ice cream industry generated total revenues of $10 billion in 2010, with take-home ice cream sales representing the largest section of the market, generating revenues of $6.8 billion or 67.7 percent of the market’s overall value. Source: MarketLine, an Informa business.
- The majority of U.S. ice cream and frozen dessert manufacturers have been in business for more than 50 years and many are still family-owned businesses. Source: IDFA ice cream company survey, 2012
- The central region of the U.S. led production of ice cream and related frozen products, producing 726 million gallons in 2011. Source: USDA, National Agriculture Statistics Service
- The U.S. dairy industry produced approximately 20 quarts per capita in 2010, the most recent data available.
- Frozen dairy production follows a clear seasonal pattern. Summer is the unchallenged season for eating ice cream and other related products. Production kicks up in March and April to fi ll retail and foodservice pipelines in the late spring and early summer. June is the highest production month of the year, but production remains strong through August to satisfy summer demand. Production declines through the end of the year.
- According to a recent survey of International Ice Cream Association member companies, vanilla remains the most popular flavor among their consumers. Companies said that Chocolate Chip Mint and Cookies and Cream were the next most popular flavors. Source: IDFA ice cream company survey, 2012
- The majority of ice cream and frozen desserts are marketed regionally. More than 66.7 percent of U.S. ice cream and frozen dessert manufacturers say they market their products regionally, with 16 percent marketing nationally. The international market accounts for 10 percent and 6.7 percent market locally only. Source: IDFA ice cream company survey, 2012
- The ice cream companies that market products around the world identify Asia, the Caribbean, Mexico and Latin America as importers. Source: IDFA ice cream company survey, 2012
- Premium ice cream, which tends to have lower amount of aeration and higher fat content than regular ice cream, is the most popular product with consumers according to a recent survey of U.S. ice cream manufacturers. In the survey, 79.3 percent cited premium ice cream as the most popular product made while 10 percent said that novelties are most popular. Novelties are defined as separately packaged single servings of a frozen dessert — such as ice cream sandwiches and fudge sticks. Source: IDFA ice cream company survey, 2012.
Vanilla continues to be America’s flavor of choice in ice cream and novelties, in both supermarket and foodservice sales. This flavor is the most versatile, mixing well with toppings, drinks and bakery desserts. America’s top five favorite individual flavors are vanilla, chocolate, cookie ‘n cream, strawberry and chocolate chip mint.
However, ice cream flavors are only limited by the imagination. Manufacturers, scoop shops and chefs constantly come up with new and exciting flavors for their customers. To keep consumers looking to see what’s next in the freezer case, individual processors often release limited time “seasonal” flavors, such as gingerbread, peppermint or caramel ice cream for the November/December holidays.
While the majority of ice cream sales have long been regular-fat products, ice cream manufacturers continue to diversify their lines of frozen desserts in order to fit into various lifestyles – often called “better for you” products. Consumers can find an array of frozen desserts to fit specific dietary needs or wants, such as reduced-fat, fat-free, low-carb, “no sugar added”, added calcium or other nutrients, or lactose-free ice cream. Novelty/single-serving products are also an important part of this trend, as some consumers prefer the pre-packaged portion when counting calories, carbs or fat grams.
However, most consumers are looking for an indulgence when eating ice cream. Therefore, ice cream manufacturers make sure to offer a full selection of premium and superpremium products in innovative flavors and with such mix-ins as cookies, brownies, candies and cake.
Another important trend for ice cream is the continuing popularity of co-branding. Co-branding involves partnering with successful branded companion products for increased product awareness. There has been an increase in the number of new ice cream products that use ingredients from well-known candy, cookie, fruit and flavoring manufacturers. In particular, novelty manufacturers have placed a strong emphasis on co-branding with popular candy flavors. And, some ice cream manufacturers have teamed up in recent years with popular coffee and chocolate brands to create “ultrapremium” products. Market signs indicate that this trend will continue to be important in the future.
What’s in the Ice Cream Aisle?
Definitions of Frozen Dessert Products
Ice cream and frozen desserts come in many flavors and types that allow the consumer to choose from a host of delicious choices. Whether the flavor is vanilla, chocolate, pumpkin pie or cookie dough, ice cream and its related products share certain basic characteristics that are often unknown to — or misunderstood by — many consumers.
Frozen desserts come in many forms. Each of the following foods has its own definition, and many are standardized by federal regulations:
- Ice Cream consists of a mixture of dairy ingredients such as milk and nonfat milk, and ingredients for sweetening and flavoring, such as fruits, nuts and chocolate chips. Functional ingredients, such as stabilizers and emulsifiers, are often included in the product to promote proper texture and enhance the eating experience. By federal law, ice cream must contain at least 10% milkfat, before the addition of bulky ingredients, and must weigh a minimum of 4.5 pounds to the gallon.
- Frozen Custard or French Ice Cream must also contain a minimum of 10% milkfat, as well as at least 1.4 % egg yolk solids.
- Sherbets have a milkfat content of between 1% and 2%, and a slightly higher sweetener content than ice cream. Sherbet weighs a minimum of 6 pounds to the gallon and is flavored either with fruit or other characterizing ingredients.
- Gelato is characterized by an intense flavor and is served in a semi-frozen state that is similar to “soft serve” ice cream. Italian-style gelato is more dense than ice cream, since it has less air in the product. Typically, gelato has more milk than cream and also contains sweeteners, egg yolks and flavoring.
- Sorbet and Water Ices are similar to sherbets, but contain no dairy ingredients.
- A Quiescently Frozen Confection is a frozen novelty such as a water ice novelty on a stick.
- Frozen Yogurt consists of a mixture of dairy ingredients such as milk and nonfat milk which have been cultured, as well as ingredients for sweetening and flavoring.
- Novelties are separately packaged single servings of a frozen dessert — such as ice cream sandwiches, fudge sticks and juice bars — that may or may not contain dairy ingredients.
Entertaining Tips with America’s Favorite Treat
No matter what the occasion—a child’s birthday party, an elegant dinner or a casual family get-together —ice cream is a wonderful treat that adds to the celebration. It can be served at the end to the meal, as a snack or even as the main attraction at parties. For your next occasion, get creative with ice cream—you can use one of the attached recipes or put together some cool combinations of your own!
Today’s on-the-go families are opting for simple, elegant entertaining. The less time spent in the kitchen, the better. Ice cream is an easy, delicious and, if desired, fancy solution. Old favorites – sundaes, root beer floats, banana splits, milkshakes, pie a-la-mode, and ice cream cones – are among the most popular and simplest choices. However, serving ideas for ice cream are only as limited as your imagination!
Holidays are perfect for ice cream: Strawberry, vanilla and blueberry scoops create a patriotic treat on the 4th of July. No one would say “bah humbug” to a Santa Claus ice cream cake on Christmas, and a jack-o-lantern ice cream cake would scare up smiles on Halloween. Thanksgiving wouldn’t be the same without apple pie a la mode. Cherry vanilla ice cream molded into a heart shape is perfect for your Valentine. St. Patrick’s Day begs for mint chocolate chip floats, and Easter calls for molded ice cream eggs. In addition, watch your supermarket’s freezer case for special seasonal flavors!
Ice cream is even more delicious when topped off; try hot fudge, chocolate, caramel or even a special liqueur. Add some whipped cream, nuts, fresh summer fruit, sprinkles or cookies for a real treat. A “build-your-own sundae” party is a great way to get everybody in on the fun any day of the week. And don’t forget the cherry!
If there is no occasion coming up, invent one! Don’t forget that July is National Ice Cream Month and Sunday, July 20, 2014, is National Ice Cream Day. To celebrate, try some of the fun ice cream recipes featured in this packet.
Tips on Storing & Handling Ice Cream
Keep It Cool!
The International Ice Cream Association offers these suggestions on the proper handling and storage of ice cream and frozen desserts to help consumers enjoy America’s favorite treat to the fullest.
Ice cream is a perishable product and should be treated carefully. When frozen desserts are exposed to temperatures above 10°F, they become subject to adverse changes in body, texture and flavor characteristics. Although individual manufacturers’ recipes yield ice cream of varying consistency and flavor, all ice cream will be negatively affected if improperly handled or stored. Because of the fluctuating temperatures in most home freezers, IICA recommends that people follow these tips, and enjoy ice cream within a month of purchase.
Here are some tips on how to keep ice cream in its most delectable form:
In the Store:
- Make the ice cream aisle your last stop during your trip to the supermarket.
- Check the temperature of your grocer’s freezer case. The temperature in the supermarket’s freezer case should not be above -20°F. If kept at a proper temperature, ice cream will be thoroughly frozen and will feel hard to the touch. If the product is soft, you may wish to bring it to the attention of the store manager.
- In an open top freezer case, always select ice cream and frozen treats stored below the freezer line.
- Put ice cream products in the separate section of your grocery cart, or place on top of other groceries.
- Insulate ice cream products for the ride home. When your groceries are packed, request a freezer bag or additional brown paper bag to insulate your ice cream.
- Make the grocery store or ice cream parlor your last errand before going home. This will insure that your ice cream does not sit in a warm car while you are making other stops.
- Do not allow ice cream to repeatedly soften and re-freeze. When ice cream’s small ice crystals melt and re-freeze, they can eventually turn into large, unpalatable lumps.
- Your freezer should be set at between -5°F and 0°F. Ice cream is easy to dip between 6°F and 10°F, the ideal serving temperature range.
- Store ice cream in the main part of the freezer. Do not store ice cream in the freezer door, where ice cream can be subject to more fluctuating temperatures since the door is repeatedly open and shut.
- Keep the ice cream container lid tightly closed when storing in the freezer.
- Don’t store ice cream alongside uncovered foods; odors may penetrate ice cream and affect its flavor.
By following these simple suggestions, you can help ensure that your ice cream and other frozen dessert treats will stay the way they left the manufacturer — attractive and delicious!