How to Choose the Right Ice Cream Freezer for Your Business
While it might seem the term “fresh ice cream” is an oxymoron, if you know anything about ice cream you know it can get stale pretty fast. Ice cream is perishable, and its contents can become compromised if the temperature slightly dips or rises.
Ice crystals can ruin the smooth, creamy texture of ice cream and frozen dairy products are a direct result of fluctuating temperatures. Ice cream that melts even slightly, forms ice crystals when refrozen. To ensure you are serving or selling the highest quality ice cream, use these tips to choose the right commercial freezer for your business.
The Ideal Temperature
First and foremost ice cream should be stored between -12 and -24 degrees Celsius. This ensures the ice cream remains frozen and solid. As mentioned, when ice cream defrosts, ice crystals form which ruins that smooth creamy texture your customers crave. Those crystals create an unexpected, unpleasant crunch.
Although the ideal serving temperature is higher, the solid hard ice cream is always best for consistency that keeps it smooth at serving temperatures. This is important in self-serve novelty freezers or open displays because they are accessed more frequently and therefore you have to keep ice cream stored below the freezer line to avoid thawing.
Types of Frozen Treats
There are basically two types of ice cream freezers, those designed for self-serve ice cream products sold to customers, and those designed for “dipping” service for ice cream parlours and gelato shops.
If you offer a wide selection of ice creams and gelatos for dipping services, it becomes complicated as the two types of frozen desserts have different recommended storage temperatures to maintain the right consistency. Therefore it is best to choose two separate dipping cabinets so you can keep each product at its ideal temperature.
Dipping Cabinets vs Display Freezers
As mentioned, there are two basic types of ice cream freezers available:
- Dipping Cabinets: Dipping cabinets are designed to hold either large tubs of ice cream, or trays of gelato. Both are designed for single-serve or hand-packed ice cream freshly prepared for customers.
- Display Freezers/Novelty Freezers: Display freezers are designed to hold pre-packed tubs of ice cream and/or a selection of frozen novelties such as popsicles, ice cream sandwiches etc.
Some ice cream parlours or gelato shops use both as they also sell pre-packed containers of their product.
Types of Dipping Cabinets
Dipping cabinets are designed for establishments offering hand-packed ice cream, gelato, Italian ice and sorbet. They can be used for self-service as well as hand-dipped applications depending on the type of set up. They are designed with both adequate temperatures and display in mind. There are two types of dipping cabinets available:
- Ice Cream Dipping Cabinets: These dipping cabinets are designed for large ice cream tubs ideal for ice cream parlours and creameries. However, they can also be used in settings such as buffet restaurants and cafeterias. Their large windows allow customers to see the selections, and easy-to-open doors on the server side ensure the contents remain chilled. You can often find models that provide storage space below, ideal for things such as cups, cones, spoons, cartons etc.
- Gelato Dipping Cabinets: As the name implies these freezers are designed for gelato. Like ice cream dipping cabinets, they can display and hold multiple flavours providing a colourful arrangement to entice customers to buy. They are insulated to maintain ideal temperatures specific to gelato, Italian ice and sorbet, and have a special set up for trays as opposed to cartons. They can also be ordered with storage space below as a convenient feature.
Types of Display or “Novelty” Freezers
Display freezers are self-serve freezers designed for shops. They are commonly used in convenience stores for items such as popsicles, but can also be used to store smaller inventories of ice cream tubs. Display freezers make it easy for customers to grab and go, and, when strategically placed, can increase impulse buys for frozen snack food. Sliding glass doors offer excellent displays, while also making it easy to keep foods at the ideal temperatures when not in use. Two examples of popular novelty display freezers include:
- Two Sliding Door Novelty/Ice Cream Freezer: This popular novelty/ice cream freezer is designed for easy access to food products, energy efficiency and maximum space usage. They offer an attractive design, and an easy rear located defrost drain. They come on casters allowing retailers to move them to suit their needs.
- One Sliding Door Novelty/Ice Cream Freezer: This is the ideal solution where size is limited. They are also perfect for impulse purchases with a small size that fits close to the cash. They are very compact and lightweight and also include a built-in lock to secure products as required.
As you can see, there are several options available to help you find the best commercial freezer for your ice cream.