Not Freezing Ice Cream Would Help the Environment; Not Eating It Would, Too

By Allison Bond | August 25, 2009 12:55 pm

ice creamCould part of the solution for global warming fit inside an ice cream cone? Maybe—at least, that’s what the developers of so-called “ambient” ice cream are hoping.

Unilever, the world’s largest ice cream producer (and owner of perhaps the world’s best ice cream, Ben & Jerry’s), is trying to figure out how to produce a new kind of frozen treat that can be shipped and sold at room temperature, before being frozen at home once purchased. The goal is to reduce the carbon that is needed to keep today’s ice cream from turning into a sloppy mess. The Times Online reports:

A spokesman for Unilever said that warm, or so-called ambient, ice cream was a “very interesting idea” but one that posed tough challenges that its scientists were trying to solve. “The key question which has yet to be fully answered is: how do you ensure that, when the ambient ice cream is frozen at home it will have the right microstructure to produce a fantastic consumer experience?”

The new ice cream may be the tastiest part of an overall program to help Unilever cut down on the impact its products, such as dishwashers and refrigerators, have on the environment. Of course, an even bigger way to reduce carbon: Eat less ice cream.

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Image: flickr / lilivanili

  • Gadfly

    Give up Ben and Jerry’s???
    Not on your life.

  • Woody Tanaka

    LOL. Does Unilever believe that we are all so stupid to believe that its search for ambient ice cream is a sincere attempt at reducing carbon emissions? Nonsense. The fact is, all this cooling costs Unilever a significant amount of money every year. They are looking to save money, nothing more.

    I’m certain of two things: First, there are other sources of carbon reduction which would be much more effect and feasible, but which Unilever will never do because it will cost them a few dollars of their filthy profits. Second, even if they find this ambient ice cream, it will cost the same as regular ice cream does now, or, if it is less, the price reduction will be no where near the amount Unilever saves on refrigeration costs.

    Searching for a way to suck money from your pockets and lying to your face about it in the process. Corporations suck.

  • Heidi


    My hubby is lactose intolerant and won’t give up his ice cream. Mere mortals can not and will not tolerate an ice cream free existence, either.

  • Rachel

    Most acts of altruism have their roots in self-gain. If Unilever manages to save themselves money by not having to refrigerate their product, it will still save energy as well.
    Corperations are all about their bottom lines. I don’t think a day will ever come that they will put anything ahead profits, but if they come to realize that saving money by becoming more efficient is a good way to market their product, kuddos to them.

  • Kurtisle

    Too much, butterfly Effect for me…there are a lot more things to worry about to spend time on whether Ice Cream will stunt Earth’s growth or not. In Singapore you can’t chew gum…yes you’re right, not relevant, but nether is Ice Cream in the whole big assed world thingy. Think of something real now…Like not driving your SUV to Walmart to pickup that Ice Cream…

  • Woody Tanaka

    “Corperations are all about their bottom lines. I don’t think a day will ever come that they will put anything ahead profits, but if they come to realize that saving money by becoming more efficient is a good way to market their product, kuddos to them.”

    I agree that corporations will never put anything — even public safety — above getting their greedy hands on filthy profits, by any means necessary, moral or not. But I really don’t see how a corporation can be congratulated for doing something which (if history is any guide) will potentially be harmful to its consumers, solely for the purpose of increasing its filthy profits, while flat out lying to the people whose money it is that they’re coveting.

    And they aren’t becoming “more efficient,” they’re trying to engineer a product to be something that it is not — who knows whether such a monstrous result would be harmful to the people eating this stuff — in order to increase the amount they can extract from customers’ pockets and stuff into their own already-stuffed pockets.

    If they would tell the truth, they’d look like the greedy bastards they are, but at least we wouldn’t have the hypocracy of pretending that it is about energy efficiency when it is not, and when they refuse to do the things that would actually protect the environment, but would cost them a penny or two.

  • Pingback: Researchers Discover How Ice Cream Controls Your Brain | Discoblog | Discover Magazine()

  • Leslie

    No one has to give up ice cream forever, collectively eating less of everything, not just ice cream, would do wonders for the planet and waistlines. Waste not, want not. I love ice cream too, but it tastes even better once in a while as a special treat.

    On the corporate efficiency/profitability argument, I’m all for saving energy regardless of the motivation. BUT I’m really not interested in another franken-food product. Manipulating natural foods has side effects on the human body, ie hydrogenated oils and high fructose corn syrup. This ice cream though saving production energy, could cost a lot more to our health. Keep it real!! Real ice cream.


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