There is Polymer in my ICE-CREAM!

Ice cream is one of the favourite sweets many people like to enjoy as a snack or dessert. India’s ice cream market was valued at INR 165 billion in 2021 and is expected to reach about INR 440 billion by 2027; growing at a CAGR of approximately 18%. Major components of ice-cream are (a) milk fat (10% – 16%); (b) milk solids-not-fat (9% – 12%); (c) sucrose (10% – 14%); (d) corn syrup solids (4% – 5%); (e) stabilizers (0% – 0.4%); (f) emulsifiers (0% – 0.25%) and (g) water: 55% – 64%. However, do you know that there is polymer in your ice-cream! This blog post tries to let the readers know which are they and how did they arrive in our ice-cream ;-). Please note: They are very important here! Enjoy reading.

Corn syrup definitely has polymer in it in the form of starch which contributes to increase in viscosity of the ice-cream. However, there is other very small component which is definitely polymer and is also beneficial. It’s the stabilizer!

Stabilizers are biopolymers which are either water-soluble or water-dispersible and are mostly polysaccharides from plant origin. They are polymers such as alginates, carrageenans, locust bean gum and guar gum, pectin, sodium carboxymethyl cellulose, xanthan gum or even gelatin. As per European Law, they are considered food additives and are designated by ‘E numbers’. For example:

  • E401: Sodium alginate
  • E407: Carrageenans
  • E401: Locust bean gum
  • E412: Guar gum
  • E440: Pectin
  • E415: Xanthan gum
  • E466: Sodium carboxymethyl cellulose

Why are stabilizers important:

  1. Also contributes to increase in ice-creams viscosity
  2. Improves texture while eating
  3. Decreases the rate of meltdown
  4. Reduces the rate of shrinkage
  5. Masks detection of ice crystals while eating
  6. Improves ice-cream processability during manufacturing on machines
  7. Facilitates air incorporation, stabilizing the froth

Next time you eat an ice-cream, remember how polymer is helping you get better experience while eating ice-cream and don’t just scream – There is Polymer in my ICE-CREAM! Not all polymers are BAD 😀

Dear Readers, do go through the above blog post on ‘There is Polymer in my ICE-CREAM!!’ and let me know your viewpoints in the Comments section.

Thanks for reading!

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Why are stabilizers used in ice cream?




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