Softer Ice Cream? Unilever To Test ‘Warmer’ Freezers in Attempt To Reduce Emissions and Energy Use

Homemade chocolate Ice cream scoop served on cup.
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Unilever — proud parent of such frozen dessert brands as Popsicle, Ben & Jerry’s, Magnum and Breyers — is launching two test pilot programs in a bid to lower energy use.

The British consumer goods company hopes that a change in freezer temperatures will reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions by 20%-30% per freezer, while ensuring the same ice cream quality and consumer experience.

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The first pilot is due to begin in Germany in May with a second trial to follow in Indonesia next year. Unilever says the trials are to explore the product performance of its ice cream and the energy consumption of freezers at warmer -12 degrees Celsius (10.4 degrees Fahrenheit) temperatures, in real life conditions. Standard freezer temperatures are -18 degrees Celsius (-0.4 degrees Fahrenheit).

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If the testing goes according to plan, Unilever will next look to increase temperatures in its last mile freezer cabinets (the product’s final delivery, from local warehouses to the consumer) in markets where carbon footprints are the highest.

Unilever claims that emissions from its retail ice cream freezers make up 10% of the company’s value chain greenhouse gas footprint. This is the first step in reaching its net-zero goal across its value chain by 2039.

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If the pilot programs are successful at reducing emissions and saving energy, while retaining product quality and cost-effectiveness, it is hoped that others in the industry will follow Unilever’s example.

Matt Close, president of Unilever ice cream business, said, “We’re actively seeking to collaborate with partners from across the ice cream and frozen food sectors to drive industry-wide change, so the collective positive impact is far greater.”

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About the Author

David Nadelle is a freelance editor and writer based in Ottawa, Canada. After working in the energy industry for 18 years, he decided to change careers in 2016 and concentrate full-time on all aspects of writing. He recently completed a technical communication diploma and holds previous university degrees in journalism, sociology and criminology. David has covered a wide variety of financial and lifestyle topics for numerous publications and has experience copywriting for the retail industry.
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