Tuesday, July 20, 2010


Ice cream is a product simply irresistible for young as well as old consumers. But many are excluded from consuming this product either completely or most of the time for health reasons because it is one of the most calorie-rich and fat rich products invented y humans. Food technologists, while learning the basics of the subject, always remember that a good ice cream can be made only if the fat content is very high in the mix that goes for its manufacture. Besides ice cream also contains high sugar levels making it tempting, especially to children. A fantastic range of flavors and processing aids make the product highly desirable to all normal consumers.

Food regulations in many countries do not allow any product to be called an ice cream unless the fat content is not less than 10% while premium ice creams in the market can contain more than that, about 16%. It is a paradox that these standards evolved decades ago when fat and calorie rich foods were not available in plenty in the market, have not been changed in spite of mounting evidence being found about the role of these types of foods in deteriorating health conditions of more than 30% of the population world over. Continuing innovations by food scientists have made it possible to reduce the fat content very significantly without the consumer being able to find the difference in texture or taste.

It is as a compromise move that regulators have coined a new name for low fat ice cream products called "frozen yogurts" or "frozen desserts" and broad specifications have been put in place for them for use by the industry. Fat substitutes are now available that can mimic the action of fat in giving a smooth texture and high over run during the making of ice cream like products and frozen yogurt is accepted by even the normal consumers because of the presence of live pro-biotic cultures in them, considered healthy in different ways. A good pro-biotic yogurt should have a minimum of 4 million live cells of microorganisms with pro-biotic credentials. Frozen desserts do not have this advantage and their popularity is not as wide spread as frozen yogurts.

The food industry in the US has been in the fore front of innovations because of the overwhelming predominance of processed foods in the regular diet of people there. New products with pronounced health orientation are continuously being introduced in the market to cater to over weight and obese people who form more than 30% of the total population. While many such products do not provide nutrition or health attributes claimed on the label, there are a few which have to be admired for their ingenuity and consumer friendly features. The whole range of low fat, low salt, low sugar products now being marketed provide an alternative to those consumers who are sensitive about the health protecting quality of foods they consume. Recent spate of frozen yogurts amazingly are formulated with virtues like low sugar, zero fat, low sodium, zero cholesterol, suitability for lactose intolerant people besides containing different species of pro-biotic organisms.

Frozen yogurts constitute more than 20% of the ice cream market in the US and some of them like Pinkberry, Tutti Frutti, Yoforia, Red Mango, Blush, YogoBliss, Yogen Frug, TCBY, I Cant Believe It is Yogurt, Only8Frozen Yogurt etc have already established good market. The most recent one, the "Only 8" Frozen yogurt made from whey, fructose syrup, whey protein concentrate, maltodextrin and pro-biotic cultures has zero fat and just 7 gm fructose with a caloric load of only 80 calories per 100 gm of the product. As fructose has a lower GI the product has the additional advantage of being suited to sugar compromised consumers. In India frozen dessert has been in the market for quiet some time though it is a minor product in the ice cream family but it is possible that given some fiscal incentives by the government for promoting frozen yogurt which has health advantages, this category of products may yet become popular eventually.


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