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How Cold Does a Warehouse Have to Be to Keep Ice Cream

Wednesday, June 15th, 2016

Moving food and other temperature-sensitive products from place to place always involves co-ordination, risk mitigation and often strategic cold warehousing along the cold chain. Some products are more fragile than others, but most perishable products are particularly averse to the freeze-thaw cycle. Bananas, for example, will keep in a mild cold temperature range but certainly must not freeze, while ice cream standards require avoiding softening and then refreezing.

For food safety and tasting purposes, the International Ice Cream Association (IICA) provides widely circulated suggestions on the proper handling and storage of ice cream and related frozen desserts, to help retailers protect these tasty products.

“The temperature for ice cream products stored in your supermarket’s freezer case should be no warmer than -20°F. If they are kept at their proper temperature, they will be thoroughly frozen and feel hard to the touch.” – The IICA

In order to get ice cream, frozen yogurt, popsicles, gelato and all members of this tasty family of foods delivered to the retailer in good condition, warehousing services have stepped up to provide distribution centers able to maintain this temperature range. A facility that can maintain steady temperatures under the threshold will be able to help maximize shelf life, and therefore commercial potential, for an ice cream shipment.

Heat shock is the enemy of ice cream. In transit and in distribution warehousing stages, this product risks ice re-crystallization, lactose (milk sugar) crystallization, shifts in the size of tiny air cells and, disturbingly, a reduction in ice cream volume, leading to a defect known as ice cream shrinkage.

In the summer months, seeking a reliable temperature controlled environment to accommodate perishable food and beverages becomes mission-critical for ice cream, just when consumers are screaming for the best texture, food safety and sensory experience. Minus twenty is what it takes to get the job done.

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