Ice cream is a frozen dessert made from dairy products, such as milk and cream, combined with added flavourings and sugar. Ice cream falls into two categories; dairy or non-dairy. ‘Dairy ice cream’ is made from whole milk or cream and contains only milk fat and ‘non-dairy ice cream’ is usually made from skimmed milk and vegetable fat.
Since the year 1770, ice cream has been widely known in several European countries. At this time English Colonists transferred knowledge of ice cream production to America and it was the Americans who became pioneers of the industrial production of ice cream.
Before the development of refrigeration, the production of ice cream was laborious and ice cream was considered a luxury item. Ice needed to be cut from lakes and ponds in Norway, Canada and America during winter and stored in holes in the ground or in wooden, insulated ice houses. The first ice cream factory was built in the 1850s in Pennsylvania.
In America the popularity of ice cream grew steadily during the first half of the 19th century, but in Europe the ice cream industry did not really develop until after World War II.
The modern ice cream industry uses the continuous-process freezer, that allows it to be mass produced; making it widely available in developed parts of the world. Ice cream became popular throughout the world in the second half of the 20th century, with a great increase in ice cream stores, flavours and types.
The 20th Century saw the development of a softer ice cream, with a lighter texture that was developed through a method that used double the amount of air. The 1980s saw increased popularity in the thicker ice creams, being sold as ‘premium’ and ‘super premium’.