US ice cream maker Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream has said it has developed a “slow churned” method of making ice cream that produces a “light” product with the taste and texture of full-fat ice cream.

In its first application of the new technology, the company is to launch new Dreyer’s Grand Light (available west of the Rockies) and Edy’s Grand Light (available east of the Rockies) in May.

In a bid to counter declining sales of light ice cream, Dreyer’s said it had spent the last five years researching and developing the new technology. The company saw a 75% increase in light sales in market tests of the slow-churned ice cream in the last year.  

Dreyer’s said that in the slow churning process, the fat molecules are kneaded at a colder temperature, stretching and distributing them widely so the ice cream tastes like it contains more butterfat, although the ingredients are the same as in the company’s current Dreyer’s Light variety.

The company said that in blind taste tests nearly eight of ten consumers concluded the new variety was either a full-fat premium or superpremium ice cream.

“By 2005, we will have invested a record US$100m in bringing this new and innovative method of making ice cream to American consumers,” said T. Gary Rogers, Dreyer’s chairman and chief executive officer.

Besides classic flavours such as Vanilla and Chocolate, Dreyer’s Grand Light will be available in Butter Pecan, Chocolate Chip, Cookie Dough, Cookies ‘N Cream, Eggnog (Seasonal Limited Edition), French Vanilla, French Silk, Fudge Tracks, Mint Chocolate Chips, Mocha Almond Fudge (Dreyer’s only), Neapolitan, Pumpkin (Seasonal Limited Edition), Rocky Road, and Strawberry.