I hope I have stimulated ice cream processors to begin an education campaign for ice cream retailers and consumers about the subject of heat shock and coarseness. I often hear processors say that handling of the product after it leaves their hands is out of their control. Do not forget, however, that the consumer is buying your label of product. The quality they receive is a reflection on you, despite where the damage occurred. The people unloading or stocking your ice cream, and the customer who buys your ice cream cannot be expected to understand the concepts of ice crystal size distributions and ice crystal growth without a little help from you. Ice cream is unlike the other frozen foods they handle routinely and this must be explained to them. We often sell ice cream at the University of Guelph. The majority of our customer's comment on the superb texture of our ice cream. They often ask us what we do differently from other manufacturer's to produce an ice cream that is so smooth. Although we would like to take credit for some great revelation in processing, the difference is that they are buying ice cream that is fresh, directly from our hardening room. If customer's were buying ice cream from the hardening room's of all manufacturer's, no doubt you would get the same comments, but they are not.
That is why I am suggesting some education to retailers and consumers on the subject may be of benefit to both them and you. An information package to retailers on proper handling of ice cream may be very welcome so that they can use it in their training of new and continuing employees. The IICA in Washington has prepared material for this purpose. Consumers can be contacted through side panels on ice cream packages or through point of purchase displays. Whatever the media, the message is that both retailers and consumers can play an important role in maintaining the texture in ice cream which is desired.