Keeping things cool requires a decent amount of carbon emissions. Most of the time when you hear about solutions to this issue they're in the form of new types of refrigeration or cooling systems. In an interesting twist, Unilever, the world's largest maker of ice cream (they own Ben & Jerry's, Breyer's, Good Humor, Popsicle and other brands), has decided that the best solution isn't changing how things are refrigerated, but making those things no longer require refrigeration.
Food scientists at Unilever are hoping to cut carbon emisissions by creating a low-carbon ice cream: one that can be shipped and sold at room temperature and then frozen at home. They're calling it "ambient" ice cream and it won't require energy-demanding refrigerated trucks or freezer cases, reducing the product's carbon footprint and saving Unilever some cash on energy costs.
There are some changes people aren't likely to take to, so I'm thinking the biggest hurdle for the company isn't going to be creating this product, but making sure it still meets consumers' expectations for ice cream. People most likely won't care that they have to freeze it themselves, but if my Half Baked tastes half as good, I won't be buying it.
Assuming they produce an equally tasty treat, a good question is when this ambient, energy-saving ice cream hits the shelves, will it be cheaper? A low-cost, low-carbon ice cream that still tastes good - now that would be a winning combination.
via Times of London
written by Brett, August 25, 2009
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