The technology took two years to develop and pilot projects took place with a large ice cream producer in North America and a manufacturer in the Middle East.
North America, Asia & The Middle East
The line can switch from ice cream sticks to sandwiches, and can handle up to four flavours and 12 coatings without changing equipment.
Peter Lindstrom, ice cream category director, Tetra Pak, told FoodProductionDaily North America is its main target market followed by Asia and the Middle East where there is a growing demand in ice cream consumption.
“We are targeting high capacity, large scale manufacturers in this segment, in countries where there is a high consumption of ice cream and a large population, where they need to produce products 24 hours a day seven days a week,” said Lindstrom.
“Clearly, North America has the highest consumption of ice cream in the world. Traditionally people bought bulk products from the gas station or kiosk but now they are moving towards single portion ice cream sticks and sandwiches and buying multi packs from supermarkets.
“The shift in consumer habits is influenced by Europe and health conscious decisions to do with portion control, eating one stick rather than x amounts of scoops in a container.
“We also see huge market potential in countries such as Asia and the Middle East. International consumption of ice cream is on the rise. It was not that common in Asia but the trend has been introduced there, particularly in Japan.
“In the Middle East, the economic situation has led to more buying power and behavorial patterns - they too are influenced by Europe and the West to copy what consumers are doing there. People living in the Middle East have always had a sweet tooth and sweet cakes and desserts fit well into this category with a warm climate.”
Global Ice Cream Consumption Trends
According to Global Ice Cream Consumption Trends by Euromonitor, 17.2bn litres of ice cream were consumed last year and Compound Annual Growth Rate forecast 2014-2019 is 1.8% led by Pacific Asia, North America and Western Europe.
Tetra Pak says the extrusion line is for more premium products and when the machine is running at full capacity, operational costs and environmental impact are the lowest in the industry: a 60% increase in production without extra manpower and 44% more energy.
The technology includes a freezer and cutting equipment, with temperature control at every stage as well as identical thickness. There is also a dip and transfer unit for gentle and precise dipping and error-free lay-off to the wrapper.
“Tetra Pak has been in the ice cream business for more than 70 years and we have traditionally sold high end technology for this specific type of product,” added Lindstrom.
“A lot of the process in the R&D phase was to take the best from what we already had, add that together, followed by some extra development to achieve this high capacity.
“It is available on the market to buy now. We have proven the performance with our prototype and the line is ready. We now have some customers lined up in Europe and Asia.
“We know the machine has the highest capacity in the world because we know what our competitors are offering and we are confident we are ahead of the competition when it comes to capacity and performance.”