Summer and ice cream: That is a duo kids start to learn from just after they start talking, walking. Poor or rich, young or old, whichever continent you are based on, ice creams have been around for decades, even centuries. In this article we will look into the history and geography of this extraordinary dessert, or even food for some.
Ice cream is the most popular dairy product in the world. For ice cream there is no need for a session; anyone can have it, at every session.
The options are too are many. Which brand to buy? Which is best suited for your palette? There are so many brands today – and this is the best part of modern society – that choosing is a pleasure.
If you consider its sheer popularity, ice creams are the world’s most loved and most popular. You have the vanilla flavour. And if you don’t like plain vanilla, go for the more complex varieties. Choose strawberry. If you don’t like strawberry, chose the chocolaty ones.
Ice creams themselves are a party treat. You can have an ice cream party. Or just enjoy within your family.
How did this extraordinary journey start? Over the years, the world of ice creams has exploded and today we are at a juncture where international ice cream brands, gelatos, legacy ice cream brands and niche-experimental ice cream brands co-exist. One trend common to all of these players is the introduction of unique delicious desi flavours based on popular spices, mithai, and even street food.
HISTORY OF ICE CREAM
How the world’s best treat came to be
The origin of ice cream is a bit disputed. Some say it first appeared in ancient Persia, some 2500 years ago. Some saw it was ‘invented’ through an accident by a slave in America.
In those early times they were all based on the sweetened water that was iced, ground into little pieces and then decorated with various toppings and fruits. This tradition of ice cream production slowly reached the Greek and Roman empires, where ice creams were welcomed with open arms and used liberally by Roman nobility and royalty who had necessary money to fund the very expensive process of production.
Sadly, after the fall of the Roman Empire, organized ice transport from mountains to the cities below stopped, and ice cream continued to be an even more expensive product. Little changed in the 1000 years following the fall of Rome, and only after Europe started exiting the Dark Ages did ice cream manage to resurface in Renaissance Italy.
During the 13th and 14th century, Italy was the centre of trade with the Middle East and Asia, and their contact with new and innovative recipes of ice cream enabled this summertime treat to slowly spread across entire Europe. This expansion of ice cream was not an easy one, and it happened only after Italian noblewoman Catherine de’Medici went to France to marry Duke de Orleans (future king of France) in 1533.
There she introduced the nobility of continental Europe with the wonders of the east – dinner utensils, high heeled shoes and, of course, ice cream. With nobility fuelling its production, innovators,
technicians and cooks all put their best effort into developing the rise of ice cream’s popularity and availability across the world.
In North America
North American street vendors started selling ice cream only a few decades after France and England, and the industrial revolution slowly, but surely started working on elevating problems of continuous refrigeration.
However, the story of ice cream being accidentally being ‘invented’ in North America is also common. It is said that during the early days of White rule in the Americas, when slavery was in vogue, one slave had, by mistake, left a jar of milk out in the cold.
The milk had frozen overnight. It could not be served to their masters, the slaves knew, so they ate the frozen milk. Somebody put some sugar in it, at it became such a delicacy that the masters got to know of it and ordered more of such milk to be sweetened and frozen. That gave rise to proper ice cream. If anything, this American version is closest to the ice cream we have today.
Coming back to the earlier issue, and problem of continuous refrigeration, the solution to that problem came only in 1926, when continuous refrigeration finally became reality with electrical freezers. This enabled industrial manufacturers to start producing very large quantities of this frozen treat, which slashed ice cream prices to the acceptable levels for everyone.
The large popularity of ice cream in the United States (especially during prohibition and market crash of the 1930s) did not shift to Europe until the start of World War II. After WW2, the ice cream industry received massive expansion, enabling creation of countless ice cream flavours, artificial ingredients and accessible prices. Today, the ice cream industry earns dozens of billions of dollars each year, with the United States being the largest consumer of this phenomenal summertime treat.
World’s Top Ice Cream Brands
Ben & Jerry
Ben & Jerry is one of the well-known flavoured ice cream brands in the world. The company was started by two friends Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield in 1978 in Burlington, Vermont. After 22 years of their venture, they sold their company to Unilever Group. Currently, Ben & Jerry operates under the same parent brand and runs 577 scoop shops in 38 countries across the world. According to Owler, Ben & Jerry have estimated revenue of $280 million each year.
Creative names like Cherry Garcia, Half Baked, Peace pops, and Chunky Monkey, combined with candy and brownie, have caught the consumers’ attention.
Baskin Robbins is the largest ice-cream company with 7500 stores located in around 50 countries across the world. This global company was founded in 1946 with the merger of two ice cream shops.
Burt Baskin started this company along with his brother in law, Irv Robbins. It’s why the company was named “Baskin Robbins”.
The company generated approximately $47.42 million in revenue in the United States and 115.37 million in its international locations in 2018.
Haagen-Dazs is a famous American ice cream brand launched in 1961. It is a subsidiary of the Nestle Group. The company started its operations as a retail store in Brooklyn and now has a strong presence in the United Kingdom, Japan, Australia, China, New Zealand, India, Brazil, and many more.
Besides ice cream bars and cakes, Haagen-Dazs also deals in frozen yogurt, sorbet, and gelato (an Italian frozen dessert). The brand
operates in more than 900 locations across 50 cities, which together accounts for revenue of $44.2 Million.
As per the recent statistics, by 2019, 5.85 million Americans consume four or more quarts of Haagen Dazs ice cream in a month.
Dairy Queen is also among the most popular ice cream brands in the world. The brand not only deals in ice-creams, but it also is a chain of fast-food restaurants.
It is the unique soft-serve ice cream brand that was introduced in 1938. The first Dairy Queen store was opened in Joliet, Illinois in 1940. This is well-known as a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway. Currently, this brand has over 6,000 outlets located in the United States, Canada, and 18 other countries. According to Owler.com, the estimated annual revenue of Dairy Queen is $ 3.1 Billion including all its business. However, the total net income of Dairy Queen from ice-creams is yet not known.
Nestle is one of the leading groups of companies in the food and beverage sector. The Swiss-based brand is popularly known for its chocolates, frozen foods, ice-creams, dairy items, nutrition food items, coffee, and more.
This leading brand was established in 1866 and currently holds five well-known ice cream brands across the world. This includes Nestle Ice-Cream, Nestle Extreme, Haagen Dazs, MovenPick, and Dreyer’s. Nestlé’s total revenue from its milk and ice-cream division was CHF7 Billion (2018).
Interesting Facts about Ice Cream
- Roman Emperor Nero adored ice cream. He established a large chain of runners who brought fresh ice from the mountain to Rome’s biggest cities.
- Marco Polo introduced Europe to milk based ice cream in the late 13th century.
- United States is the largest producer and consumer of ice cream in the world.
- 90% of American households eat ice cream.
- The most famous types of ice cream are Gelato, Neapolitan, Sorbet, stick and cone.
- The First ice cream cone was created during the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis.
- Legends say that Charles I of England ordered the beheading of his chef, who was blamed for releasing into public a secret recipe of King’s favourite ice cream.
Here are the best ice cream brands in India
In 16th century India one of the gems of world ice cream arrived. Kulfi is first mentioned in the Ain-i-Akbari, the record of the life of the Moghul emperor Akbar the Great who reigned from 1556 to 1605.
Kulfi or Kulfi, which is popular in the Indian subcontinent, is a frozen dessert that originated in the Mughal Empire in the 16th century. Kulfi was a variation of a Persian ice cream known as ‘Bastani Sonnati’.
Mughals used relays of horsemen to bring ice from the Hindu Khush to Delhi, where it was used in fruit sorbets.
India’s first Ice Cream brand is Amul which was Established in 1946 in Ahmedabad, Gujrat.
Amul Ice Cream
Amul is synonymous with ice cream in India. The incredibly huge chain of primarily dairy-based products is based in Anand, Gujarat. Founded in 1946, its availability is credited worldwide, with India being its primary consumer.
The journey of Amul Ice Cream began on March 10, 1996 in Gujarat and with its superior quality it was able to capture the highest market share in a short period of time. In 1997, Amul Ice Creams entered Mumbai followed by Chennai in 1998 and Kolkata and Delhi in 2002. Nationally it was rolled out in 1999.
It is essentially a cooperative brand, managed by the GCMMF, or the Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation Ltd. The body is jointly owned by a total of 36 lakh milk producers in Gujarat and is the primary supplier of milk to a huge part of the country.
Amul started India’s White Revolution, which essentially doubled milk production at the time and has since allowed the country to achieve the title of the largest producer of milk and milk products in the entire world.
In January 2007, Amul introduced Sugar Free & ProLife Probiotic Wellness Ice Cream, which was first-of-its-kind in India for the health conscious. Amul is the largest ice cream brand in India based on the market share.
Market share: 38 %
Kwality Wall’s has been making ice cream for almost 100 years. It all started from a butcher’s shop in St James` Market in London. Kwality Wall’s is 2nd in the list of Top 10 ice cream brands in India. Kwality Wall’s is present in India since 1993.
Kwality Wall’s- the brand with the heart logo – is been loved for its wide variety of products, from indulgent treats like Cornetto & Feast (for teens and young adults), to Paddle Pop (for kids), to family favourites like Creamy Delight, & Carte D’or and Fruttare (for people who love refreshing fruits).
Market Share: 16 %
Vadilal Ice Creams is India’s third-largest ice cream brand. From a humble beginning with a small Vadilal Soda Fountain outlet in Ahmedabad opened in 1926, to a turnover of more than Rs 600 crore per annum, Vadilal Ice Creams has crossed several milestones of success in just a few decades.
Vadilal Ice Creams has the widest range of ice creams in the country with 150 plus flavours available in more than 250 packs and forms.
Vadilal Ice cream company with two state-of-the-art production units at Pundhara (Gujarat) and Bareilly (Uttar Pradesh), the daily production capacity is around 3.25 lakh litres of ice cream. The production process is indicated through the combined capacities of over 8 lakhs of cones and over 15 lakhs of cups per day.
Today, Vadilal Ice Creams has the widest range of ice creams in the country with 150 plus flavours available in more than 250 packs and forms.
Market Share: 12 %
Mother Dairy was commissioned in 1974 and is a wholly owned subsidiary of the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB).
Mother Dairy Ice Cream Cakes are absolute delight. Both, Black Forest and Choco True Cakes are a must to complete your celebration.
Mother Dairy makes perfect ice creams that we all have been eating for years and offer a wide range of standard and specialty ice creams that are available across India. The company expanded its business and diversified its products like food oil, fruits, and vegetables through stores and outlets.
Market Share: 8 %
In 2003 RJ Corporation brought Cream Bell ice cream to India in technical collaboration with French Dairy major, Candia. Since inception Cream Bell has delighted the taste buds of millions with a variety of refreshing and exotic ice cream flavours of international and traditional nature.
Today with a presence in 19 states, the company has good market value in the Indian ice cream industry. The company has launched popular Pine-Orange and Chocolate Cookie variants of ice cream in India.
Cream Bell has introduced an astonishing range of innovative ice cream products across all categories. Currently it has 136 varieties in its basket catering to various consumer age groups and their taste buds.
Market Share: 6 %