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The endless possibilities of Ice Cream

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Recently we reached out to our wonderful friends at Unilever to get their perspective on one of our most loved categories – Ice Cream. What started as an exploration into where the category is headed lead us to a look back at where it all began, and got us thinking:

Is Ice Cream frozen in time?

It appears the category is coming full circle as much of where ice cream is headed today feels reflective of the past. Is there a way we can look at these trends with fresh eyes in order to push the category in a new direction?

An ice cream a day keeps the doctor away.

In the 18th century, Neapolitan doctor Filippo Baldini dedicated an entire book to the medicinal benefits of sorbet and frozen products. According to Baldini, lemon sorbet could soothe a sore stomach and break a fever, while cinnamon sorbetto could ease pain, calm nerves, and enhance circulation.

Baldini was particularly ambitious with his expectations of the milk-based variety, believing donkey’s milk could purify blood, both sheep and goat’s milk could cure haemorrhages, diarrhoea, dysentery and scurvy, and Cow’s milk was even said to help those who couldn’t walk to walk again.

How can we borrow from Baldini’s thinking and reimagine the value of ice cream’s core ingredients and functional benefit? As the functional wellness trend continues to grow and begins to turn toward indulgent snacks, there’s an opportunity to leverage the benefits of some of our favourite flavours and open a world of new possibilities for the time, place and reason we enjoy a scoop!

Cow’s milk may not help people to walk again but it’s an excellent source of tryptophan (an amino acid that promotes sleep) while a bowl of coffee ice cream could be the perfect kick start to the day.

Just enough to satisfy a King.

When ice cream first arrived in England it was a treat only the elite could afford. It’s said that King Charles II was such a big fan he was served this icy delight alongside a plate of fresh strawberries at the Feast of St George in May 1671.

Fast forward 350 years, and ice cream is a firm family favourite enjoyed all over the globe by all. But how does this indulgent treat fit for a king appeal to a growing number of people looking to adopt healthier, more considered lifestyles?

Minifying decadent flavours can help to satisfy a need for indulgence while also offering a greater feeling of balance and control. Reformatting into bite sized chunks can also elevate the experience as every mouthful becomes a carefully curated balance of flavour and texture.

Minifying also opens more possibilities when it comes to sharing and gifting – after all ice cream is both a team and individual sport. Imagine carrying a selection of creamy deserts to your next dinner party in place of a box of chocolates or bunch of flowers. 

Anytime is Ice Cream time.

Before creating his hugely successful ice cream empire, Thomas Wall and his brother ran Britain’s best-known sausage enterprise. However, due to the highly seasonal pattern of sausage sales (which plummeted in summer) Wall’s decided to diversify into ice cream production. Knowing that most shops lacked refrigerators to store ice cream, the company deployed a sales force to sell ice cream out of box tricycles across London. The fleet became so popular that by 1939 Walls had 8,500 tricycles and 160 depots across Britain.

If ice cream became the solution to Thomas Walls’ sausage seasonality issue, what’s standing in the way of people lining up around the block for a scoop of Pumpkin Spice the second the temperature drops?

Beyond seasonal flavours – think pepernoten (a miniature Dutch cookie traditionally associated with the Sinterklaas holiday) or mince pie for Christmas, rose petal and dark chocolate for Valentine’s Day or even candied apple for Halloween – what if there was an ice cream hot chocolate that you heated on the stove from frozen? Or a warming ginger or chilli range designed to heat you up like a warm cup of soup?

At 1HQ we believe there is so much you can learn from experience, and after our trip down memory lane we’re excited to see just how far the category can go if we imagine a world where ice cream isn’t just an indulgent treat reserved for warmer weather but a versatile staple in a balanced diet.


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