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Nestle Uses Avalanche Research to Create Better Ice Cream

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Nestle Uses Avalanche Research to Create Better Ice Cream

Nestle Uses Avalanche Research to Create Better Ice Cream
March 27
10:13 2012

Nestle is using the same specialised technology avalanche experts use to study snow to improve the quality of its ice cream. The company’s scientists are working with the Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research in Switzerland (SLF) to examine the microscopic ice crystals found in both snow and ice cream.

Their research relies on the only x-ray tomography machine in the world that allows long-term observation of tiny particles in a substance at temperatures of zero to minus 20 degrees Celsius. Experts at the SLF monitor the evolution of ice crystals in snow and how this affects its properties: key factors for understanding avalanche formation.

Ice crystals affect the properties of ice cream in a similar way, altering its texture and structure as they grow and change shape. The collaboration aims to help Nestle to solve a universal problem for all ice cream manufacturers: how to maintain the product’s original texture and structure for longer.

“Ice cream is an inherently unstable substance,” says Dr Hans Jorg Limbach, a scientist at the Nestle Research Center in Switzerland. “As part of its natural ageing process, the ice will separate from the original ingredients such as cream and sugar. When you store ice cream in the freezer at home for a prolonged period, you will eventually see ice crystals begin to form in the product. This is water from the ice cream itself.”

Across the ice cream industry, consumer feedback about boxed ice cream that is stored in the freezer often relates to its texture and appearance.

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