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A new era of healthy ice creams is becoming a mainstay
Friday, 23 September, 2022, 14 : 00 PM [IST]
Anuvrat Pabrai
I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream – the song first published in 1927 - even today strongly resonates with us all irrespective of our geographic location. Ice cream has been the king of desserts for us all, be it after a wholesome meal at home/ restaurant, during a stroll on the promenade, while binge-watching series at home, or just the most sought-after dish at corporate parties or weddings, etc. It’s been here to date, will stay, and keep evolving with time to cater to the varied tastebuds the world over. Ice cream has been evolving according to convenience and increased shelf-life to date. However, with health-conscious consumers being mindful about their ice cream consumption, a new era of healthy ice creams is paving its way to becoming a mainstay in 2023!

According to Allied Market Research, “The Asia-Pacific region would register the highest CAGR of 6.5% from 2017 to 2023 due to the growing demand for innovative products in the Asia-Pacific countries such as India and China owing to the expansion of the retail sector and increase in disposable income.”

The evolving needs of the consumer had led to the transition in ice creams coming in healthy versions. Over the years, packaged foods, especially ice creams have been added with artificial preservatives and emulsifiers for increased shelf-life, enhancing taste and texture retention. While the convenience allowed the producers to increase production with little wastage, the impact of the additives has been witnessed gravely on the health of the consumers over the years with moderate to critical illnesses triggered due to the artificial additives.

The modern consumer is hence conscious and mindful of what he eats. With the increased awareness about food additives and their negative impact, consumers have been bringing positive change by voicing their viewpoints. This has led to the transformation of the ice cream industry into offering consumer sentiment-centric products.

Low calorie, fat-free ice creams have been the preferred choice of frozen desserts that are popularised in the West and has been seeing an uptick in demand by the Asian markets too. With no change in texture, these ice creams, as the description says, add nominal calories to the diet of the consumers. It’s a go-to sweet dish for gym aficionados and aged individuals.

Moreover, with the increasing allergies that people are faced with today, lactose intolerance has become common among many consumers. Hinting the industry to bring a positive change by dismissing lactose from their products, market shelves are now seeing an increased demand for lactose-free ice creams. Deemed to contribute to the profitability of the global ice cream market exorbitantly, robust cold storage and the advent of online food delivery channels along with retail channels such as hypermarkets, supermarkets, convenience stores, and grocery stores, there’s a plethora of lucrative opportunities for the conscious ice cream market to thrive.

What remains natural and freshly prepared by default takes the centre stage, and so is the case of ice creams. Handcrafted or artisan ice creams have gained immense popularity among consumers with customisation options to tickle their taste buds with guilt-free vegan and fat-free options with new-age flavours like avocado, salted caramel and blueberry.

Last but not the least, while we talked about how the thoughtfully re-engineered ice creams have been keeping the demand and supply in check without adding guilt and substantial calories to the consumers’ diet, the forthcoming trend is fortified ice creams and frozen dessert options. Frozen yogurt is expected to witness the fastest growth rate during the forecast period, owing to its health benefits.

Moreover, apart from staple foods like milk, oil, and flour, fortification is now being adopted by ice cream producers too. Treating food and medicine, many consumers want to suffice their daily intake of essential nutrients through their foods instead of popping supplements. Ice creams are hence now being produced with special ingredients like protein, probiotics, and natural antioxidants for enhancing the experience.

(The author is founder, Pabrai Ice Cream)
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