Ice Cream Sector Adapting to the Challenges of Covid-19
Claire Heron, CAFRE Dairy Technologist
The welcome period of sunny weather during the lockdown has given everyone more reason to reach for ice cream to cool down or to share as an indulgent treat during this difficult situation.
The Northern Ireland ice cream processing sector has been working tirelessly to keep products available to retail outlets, hospitals and care homes. With strict hygiene procedures and regimes, manufacturers have adopted social distancing measures, ensuring businesses can operate safely and whilst meeting the demands of the consumers.
Shopping local has become a higher priority since the Covid-19 outbreak with consumers becoming more aware of their local businesses. It has been a difficult period for all food processors, however some have been fortunate to find new opportunities to adapt to survive within these unprecedented times. A number of manufacturers have taken the opportunity to offer a delivery or collection service, this not only satisfies customer needs but ensures that the business can continue to remain active. As the lockdown continues to ease more businesses begin to reopen under controlled conditions.
In response to the Covid-19 outbreak, eating more healthily is also increasing in importance to promote overall health and wellbeing. Treats like ice cream can be tailored for the more health conscious consumer by reducing sugar, fat and the addition of protein. Food technologists at the College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise (CAFRE) can help ice cream businesses address the technical challenges and opportunities of developing and reformulating ice cream products to meet changing consumer expectations. CAFRE’s Food Technologists are continuing to provide support remotely to all food sectors during the current pandemic.
If you have any queries in relation to Ice Cream help and support, or general Covid-19 related issues then please do not hesitate to contact Claire.Heron@daera-ni.gov.uk or call the Food Processing Help Line on 0300 200 7846.