Ice cream has come a long way since the humble scoop of vanilla in a cone, or a fruity ice lolly. Visual appeal has taken centre stage, with NPD teams striving to create an ice cream with the wow factor.
Inventive combinations are leading the way across the globe. Freakshakes topped with doughnuts have become a firm favourite in the USA and Northern Europe, as have dessert-inspired sundaes such as strawberry cheesecake, and cookies and cream. Decoration plays a big role, with ice creams adorned with mini candy, chocolates, cookies, meringues and macarons – chosen by the consumer. The more Instagram-worthy (and personalised), the better.
Boundaries are being pushed with flavours, with new, exotic tastes being introduced, and savoury and sweet combinations. Tastebuds are being tickled with saffron, hibiscus and chilli, as well as cheese, avocado and ketchup.
Ice creams have to be pretty, but also easy to eat, which is why creative portability is also key. Ice cream sandwiches layered with cookie and sponge are making a comeback, and soft serve-filled pastries such as cruffins, have made their way onto menus. Traditionally plain waffle cones are now bursting with colour and flavour, adding to the experience.
The popularity of ice cream is growing in Asia-Pacific regions, and their influence can be seen in trends such as Thai rolled ice cream and ladoos – sphere-shaped sweet treats from India. In Europe, the health-conscious are looking for ice creams that taste great and are good for you, which is why we are seeing a rise in flavours such as charcoal and matcha.
Dairy NPD teams are constantly under pressure to innovate and introduce a stream of new flavours and products with visual appeal. They need to deliver novel inclusions with clean ingredients – no additives or E numbers. For specific consumers, such as the children’s market, manufacturers will have to produce diary products that are low in sugar and fat content too.
Our creative, technical experts are committed to developing value-adding solutions for dairy NPD teams. We use our extensive knowledge of the market and skills to create new, exotic flavours using our wide range of freeze-dried fruits, vegetables and herbs. Not only do they deliver authentic taste, but freeze-drying retains their vibrant colour, texture and shape, and provides an ingredient low in sugar.
To give ice cream toppings a real wow factor, our R&D team can work with you to create crumbs, sprinkles and items such as baked waffle pieces, tailored to your specific applications. Whether it’s solving a problem, or seizing and opportunity, we are determined to deliver a solution that adds value.