Three former nutrition students at the Kanto Gakuin University have developed a food item that is now becoming popular among nurseries and elderly homes. The new product is a kind of “hard-to-melt” ice cream that seems to be all the rage with kids in the nursery, and is also “extremely easy to eat” and is great for elderly people as well.
This new “un-melt-able” ice cream is the idea of three former students in the university’s college of human and environmental studies in Yokohama – including two 23-year-olds Shoko Aikawa, and Asumi Tamaki. The group made for its thesis project – made under nutrition studies professor Masami Matsuzaki – a kind of ice cream that retains a smooth texture even if left at standard room temperature for 30 minutes. With the consistency of the product, this ice cream can reduce the risk of aspiration, which can cause respiratory problems and pneumonia in older people. “Ice cream, which stimulates the appetite in a hot season, is an ideal nursery-care food,” he said.
But the problem really is that ice cream melts quickly. The group then focused their research on thickening agents by manufacturers. They added gelatin and agar, instead of thickening agents, to their recipe and found the gelatin harder to melt and have smoother texture than thickening agents. Having tested their product on nutritionists and doctors, they created a final recipe which they taste-tested among hospital patients. A 70-something woman exclaimed, “yummy,” saying that she was “grateful to the point of tears.” That was all the approval they needed.
The product – which is technically not real ice cream – is now being commercialized as “Dessert hard-to-melt ice cream style” – in true Japanese naming fashion. Shinichiro Kato, an official at frozen food manufacturer Yayoi Sunfoods Co., had heard about the thesis and proposed to commercialize the ice cream. It went on sale in August – in five flavors: vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, azuki beans and green tea.