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Jargon or Gibberish? - What's the difference between soft ice cream & milkshake mixes?

SIC_Shake_380pxOn the surface, UHT soft ice cream and milkshake mixes appear to be the same thing but in a different carton… there are a few fundamental differences…

There are a wide range of different soft serve and milkshake mixes on the market these days, so this is a simple guide to explain the differences between the two. All mixes are typically made up from these ingredients:

Fats – The fat content is usually 4%. It could be as high as 10-14% in some speciality mixes, but around 4% is most common. In dairy mixes this fat comes in the form of butterfat from the milk or cream which is used. In non-dairy formulations, the fat can come from a number of different origins including palm oil, coconut oil or refined vegetable fats.

Sugar – The sugar content is usually sucrose (cane sugar or household sugar). Because of the higher cost of cane sugar in recent years, the development of other sugars has been widespread. One of the new sugars most widely used in mixes now is “High Fructose Sugar” which is a corn syrup derivative. Some manufacturers are moving back to sucrose for its ‘more natural’ qualities.

Milk Solids – Milk solids form the bulk of the solids found in soft serve mixes. These are obtained from condensed skim milk or powdered skim milk. The solids create the structure of the product, the higher the solids the firmer and denser the finished product.

Stabilisers – These are added to increase the firmness of the frozen product. The ability of the mix to hold air is also increased by the addition of stabilisers. They work by immobilising the water or air in mix.

Emulsifiers – These are added to increase the ‘dryness’, ‘firmness’ and uniform texture of the soft serve product. Emulsifiers act to combine the fats with water. This prevents water from melting on the surface by drawing it into the product and keeping it combined with the fat.

Ice Cream Mix Formulation

  • SIC_FormulationWater makes up 60 – 65% of ice cream mix
  • Fat may vary from 4 -14%
  • Protein content varies from 3 – 4.5%
  • Sugars typically contribute about 65% of the solids in ice cream, and 22% of the total weight
  • Emulsifier/stabiliser content is seldom more than 0.16%

Shake Mix Formulation

  • Shake_FormulationWater makes up 65 – 70% of shake mix
  • Fat may vary from 0.5 – 6%
  • Protein content may vary from 3 – 4.5%
  • Sugars typically contribute about 65% of the solids in shakes, and 22% of the total weight
  • Emulsifier/stabiliser content is seldom more that 0.16%

In essence, milkshake mix has a higher water content and a lower fat and solids content. This is for a number of reasons…

Portion size – The serving size of a milkshake is significantly larger than a soft ice cream, which means that it doesn’t need or want to be as ‘rich’ (i.e. lower in fats) as you want customers to be able to drink the whole thing without feeling ill.

Consistency – Since milkshakes are still liquid when they’re served they don’t need to have the structure and stability usually found in soft ice cream. Because of this, the solid content can be reduced which also reduces some of the ‘richness’ making the shake easier to drink in larger quantities.

Portion cost – The larger portion size combined with lower overrun, can potentially make milkshakes relatively expensive compared to soft ice cream. The reduced fat and milk solids lowers the raw ingredient costs and the increased relative water content ensures that the portion cost of a shake is kept as low as possible.

For more information or to arrange a free consultation with your local Taylor UK sales manager, call the Taylor UK Sales Office, FREE, on 0800 838 896 or complete the ‘Request a Free Consultation’ form at the top of the page and we’ll call you back.

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