We’re looking at fabrication for the first part of the year and exploring different products. For the past week I have been looking into the manufacturing process, company ethos, and organisational policy of Ben & Jerry. This famous ice-cream producer hails from Vermont(US) and is now exporting their ice-cream through most of Europe. The UK is lucky enough to even have Scoop Shops, their signature shops that offer an impressive variety of rare or exclusive flavors, as well as all time favorites.
There is a plethora of information out there about their manufacturing process and I spent some time trying to cross reference videos, information from blogs, as well as official information to try and get a sense of what they do, exactly. if you’re curious,this video is actually quite fun and informative, but keep in mind that we’re talking about a company hat has perfected its marketing to art form levels – try and see beyond that!
Not much is published online about the actual origin of the ingredients or the location of the secondary factories. I found out by approaching staff from scoop shops that the ice-cream supplied in the UK is produced in the Netherlands, and shipped throughout Europe. As far as ingredients go, they do prioritise their Fairtrade policy and the sustainable Caring Dairy supply chain.
What I found interesting is their ability to market a mass produced item as a personal experience. I’m intrigued about the possibilities of taking this further: using automated systems, can ice-cream be actually personal? Could we start having ice cream dispensers for which we can choose ingredients?After all, chilling a pint of ice-cream in a professional mixer takes just over 30s.
Taking that a step further, we could become aware of the nutrigenetics and nutrigenomic of food and how people react wildly different to food categories (wide array of literature on it, and this is of interest for me at the moment) . If food “dispensers/personalisers” would also start collecting data of dietary needs, the big data generated would uncover unprecedented research opportunities.
As a first exercise, let’s look at what Ben & Jerry offers. They have 42 flavors worldwide. Mostly they follow a standard composition of ice-cream, swirl, and 2 different kinds of chunks. They use 14 different kinds of ice-cream, 7 swirls, and 10 types of chunks. Having ISCC(ice-cream, swirl, chunk, chunk) as a standard formula, then you have 8778 potential undiscovered flavors. If the base ingredients are popular and largely compatible in the first place, then it’s likely that most of the iterations of ice-cream would appeal to a segment of population. More to follow.