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Alcohol is all-pervasive but alcohol-infused ice cream is the new trend
Monday, 04 March, 2019, 15 : 00 PM [IST]
Monil Shah & Aditya Churiwala
These are the most exciting times in the food industry since the discovery of fire! People are experimentative. People are more open to travel. And people are looking for newer things and usually are not constrained by budget. The focus is now on experience.

That the food should be good is a given. People are more passionate about their culinary choices and more conscious about what’s fueling their bodies.

FnbNews Basic products like pani puri and vada pav have been reinvented via fusions, additions or even simple substitution of condiments. Something as prevalent as alcohol has also been subject to the same innovative trends and demands.

In face it is one of the most played around ingredients with, whether you talk about usage of juices and condiments, glasses and cutlery, or being subject to the newest trend of molecular gastronomy.

There are few things that have divided and united people and societies at the same time like alcohol has. On the one hand, there are people who look down on those consuming alcoholic beverages as anti-social, and on the other, alcohol is the binding factor for people, as something that can be enjoyed together like a sport or an event.

It is quite impressive how alcohol is all-pervasive in spite of the limitations placed on marketing and branding. And we are now seeing new ways of preparing, serving and savouring alcoholic drinks. But there is one thing that has not really taken off, alcohol-infused ice creams.

Two of the most saleable
products

The idea is not novel. Many have tried and almost all have failed. The concept is interesting because it combines the love of two of the most saleable products, ice cream and alcohol. However, the technical challenges and the limitations on marketing have not allowed this fusion to flourish.

But Icekraft has cracked the code! They did it with the 'Black Icecream.' And now they are doing it with Boozekrafts. Combining classic flavours with the correct pairing in spirits, the outcome is an explosion of so many flavours you would be amazed how no one has managed to sustainably do this before. But there are three major problems when it comes to alcohol-infused ice creams.

Licensing, low temperatures
The primary problem that is faced is the licensing. This is something that has no way around it and has to be complied with. The second problem is the alcohol itself. Compared to the freezing point of water at 0°C, alcohol freezes closer to -18°C. This creates a problem where manufacturing processes do not subject the ice creams to that low temperatures.

Most stores are not even equipped to store these ice creams in those low temperature environment. When the ice cream starts to melt, the alcohol melts first, creating a very unstable ice cream. However, it works well for rolled ice creams because the temperatures involved are far lower than - 18°C and by the time it melts, consumers are through most of their ice creams.

Another problem that such stores might face is the backlash from non-alcohol consuming customers who refrain from consuming food at places that serve alcohol. For that purpose, a separate section needs to be created for alcohol- infused ice creams with a completely different setup which isolates any overlap. This creates confidence and calm in the minds of such customers. At the end of the day, we are operating in the hospitality industry and one needs to be accommodative to every customer's need.

Great business potential

However this product has great business potential. For obvious reasons, the love of alcohol and ice creams, and the excitement in the F&B industry about anything new that happens. People are very experimentative these days and do not mind breaking rules and even travelling to far off places for their culinary delights. Even Abu Dhabi tourism board is promoting their culinary delicacies in their advertisement for promoting tourism.

Another great potential business is in outdoor catering events. Every event that serves alcohol requires an alcohol licence. The people present at the event most likely consume alcohol which makes it a no-brainer to keep alcohol- infused ice cream as part of the desserts menu. This generates revenue and works as an excellent marketing opportunity for the brand.

On the balance, alcohol-infused ice cream is an excellent product. Very difficult to get right but worth investing one’s time and money in. Done right, this is going to be the next breakthrough product coming out from ice cream chains and dessert cafes.

(The authors are Co-CEO at Icekraft)


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