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IFF’s Product Design in ice cream formulations for affordable indulgence

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WATCH: The full sensorial experience with an affordable price tag - is this the future of ice cream?

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Ice cream is a complex product that requires the perfect balance of texture, indulgence and flavour.

In order to deliver the ultimate sensorial experience, ice cream needs to meet consumer expectations across a whole host of attributes including flavour, texture, appearance and smell. Be it a hedonistic treat for those seeking high-quality premiumisation, to a more value-driven or eco-conscious product that delivers the same gourmet experience while aligning with consumer needs and lifestyles.

However, creating the perfect ‘me time’ moment of bliss is challenging. To stay ahead of the competition, manufacturers need to tap into the consumer emotional bond to create a complete sensorial experience. But how?

Firstly, there is a universe of flavours to consider and trends to keep up with. Creaminess, mouthfeel and optimal melt must also be achieved, and this requires extensive ingredient selection and formulation expertise, within cost considerations that meet the brand’s positioning and targeted market.

Essentially, consumers buy ice cream for indulgence but they also want a treat without the guilt associated with excess sugars, fats or ingredients they would perceive as ‘not healthy’. Data shows that at least 65% of consumers want to make the right spending choices to live a healthier and more sustainable life.1

So, although milk and sugar are key to the indulgent taste and texture that drive ice cream sales, nutritional and health connotations must come into play, too. For manufacturers, this means constantly innovating and evolving formulations with evermore sustainable and nutrition-led approaches.

How can IFF’s extensive portfolio of flavours and latest innovations support your business? Watch the video below to hear IFF’s Vincent Mathys and Chanelle Fouche van Heerden, Design Team Lead for Dairy, share their insights and expertise and explain how manufacturers can optimise their offering in an everchanging market.

Supply and cost challenges

To stay ahead, manufacturers need solutions that address texture, flavour, colour, positive nutrition and sustainability. And all this, against an uncertain economic backdrop. Supply and demand issues and inflationary pressures have pushed up global prices of raw materials, impacting margins for manufacturers and challenging the affordability of the finished product. As private label consumption outpaces branded products in many markets, price is increasingly a necessary component for success in the marketplace.

The two main ingredients in ice cream – milk and sugar – have been particularly hit by global price hikes. In 2022, the average cost of raw milk rose by 44% in the EU alone, with prices expected to remain similarly high throughout 2023.2​ The cost of sugar has also rocketed, with prices in the EU in February and March 2023 on average 61% higher than in the same months of 2022.3

Reducing or replacing sugar to bring down the formulation costs affects more than just flavour, though. As well as sweetness, sugar contributes to the composition of the full formula of the ice cream, impacting texture and mouthfeel.

Vanilla is another important consideration. A key tonality within ice cream, vanilla has for many years been the top flavour of ice cream, as well as integrating as a base ingredient in formulations. Factors such as bean origin, maturity, curing and extraction all affect the taste and performance of the vanilla product. This gives rise to implications around sustainability, price, value, quality and sourcing within an already complex supply chain. Choosing a vanilla product that considers these, and delivers on the sensorial experience, is crucial.

Faced with challenges around ingredients, formulation delivery and cost pressures, the landscape is increasingly difficult to navigate. How can manufacturers stay competitive in their markets and innovate, despite price pressures imposed by retailers? How can they leverage ingredients in formulations to create on-trend, unique and indulgent ice cream experiences for consumers, while mindful of cost and environmental footprint?

Recipes for success

With an insights-led approach to innovation, IFF PRODUCT DESIGN™ can help ice cream manufacturers develop bespoke and tailored solutions in terms of new flavours, product formats, or functionalities of products. The IFF Panoptic Framework, is a proprietary Trend & Foresight capability and the starting point for all innovations and solutions that can help transform the global food system – helping customers to navigate the complex landscape of health & wellness, alternative proteins, friendlier consumer labels or affordability & sustainability.

The company’s latest innovation, CREMODAN®​ GREENPRO 101 Modulator Enhanced System, is one such example of how manufacturers can reduce sugar and milk/fat solids content while maintaining the taste and texture of ice cream that drive repeat purchase. Designed to reduce recipe costs by 25% without any changes in manufacturers’ processes or equipment, it also minimises shipping costs of commodities to processing plants, reducing the carbon footprint of ingredients used in ice cream by up to 30%.

With its extensive flavour portfolio, IFF can further support manufacturers to ensure their ice cream delivers with the flavour type and profile that consumers demand. Vanilla is one of the key strengths within the IFF portfolio – with its strong position on sustainability, and world-class innovation platform called RE-MASTER VANILLA™, IFF can create great tasting products that protect both the environment and local communities.

With a long heritage of in-house flavour creation expertise, coupled by insights into consumer behaviour and expectation, IFF is able to create tailor-made flavour solutions that are innovative and competitive. The IFF FLAVORFIT™ modulation portfolio gives the company the ability to create healthier ice cream alternatives without compromising on the taste and indulgence that consumers are seeking.

“Bringing the best modulation technologies into the CREMODAN®​ system gives manufacturers a leading position by maintaining a full formula at a competitive cost,” says Vincent Mathys, European Marketing Lead for the Nourish division at IFF. “Underpinning our expertise in dosage of ingredients, combined with our broad portfolio, this latest innovation means we can be incredibly flexible in what we can offer. We are bringing the best of both worlds to the table.”

Ease of use is another value proposition of IFF’s system blends. CREMODAN®​ GREENPRO allows manufacturers to simplify multiple ingredients into a single product, in a one-step process that solves for consistency, quality control and cost. With the perfect balance of ingredients coupled with expertise in formulation innovation, manufacturers can meet the challenges in today’s market and achieve their goals.


1.Consumers want sustainable options. What food producers, suppliers, and retailers can do now​. World Economic Forum. (January 2023).
2. Dairy Production Costs and Projections 2022-2023​. Teagasc.
3.Sugar prices increased by 61% in the EU over one year​. Eurostat.

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