Ice cream made with low-emissions milk debuts in the UK

By Teodora Lyubomirova

- Last updated on GMT

Visitors to Ruby Violet's Kings Cross location sample the low-emissions ice cream on Thursday, August 24, 2023. Image via 89up Ltd.
Visitors to Ruby Violet's Kings Cross location sample the low-emissions ice cream on Thursday, August 24, 2023. Image via 89up Ltd.

Related tags Ice cream Dairy Feed additives Methane methane reduction Cattle

British agritech company Mootral and UK-based ice cream parlor Ruby Violet have partnered to offer what they call ‘the world’s first ice cream made with climate-friendly milk’.

The ice cream is made with milk from cows fed using Mootral Ruminant, Mootral’s methane-reducing natural ruminant feed, at Brades Farm, a commercial dairy based in Lancashire, England. The farm has fed the additive to its herd of Holstein Friesian and Jersey cows since 2018, achieving enteric methane emissions reductions of 30% on average (to a maximum of 38% for its Jersey cows and 21% for the Holsteins). During the initial trial, the farm also recorded a 3-5% increase in milk yield while no negative impact was observed in terms of animal health or milk quality.

Meanwhile, demand for sustainable products is on the rise globally. In Europe, market research company IPSOS on behalf of Yara found that 58% of Europeans consider the climate impact of food and beverages important; 51% are willing to pay more for fossil-free foods, and 76% would like a product’s carbon footprint to be listed on-pack. In the US, research firm Glow found that 70% of shoppers consider environmental responsibility as ‘more important’ and 90% take sustainability into account when purchasing food. 

“Mootral begins to reduce a cow’s methane emissions shortly after it is introduced into the feed,” a company representative for Mootral told us. “We've seen a significant methane reduction after feeding as early as 18 days in dairy cows (10% reduction in Khurana et al. 2023 – see Sources below) and 19 days in sheep (13% reduction in Ahmed et al. 2021). The full reduction factor is influenced by factors such as breed, climate and farm practices.”

Mootral Ruminant is a natural supplement, made of a combination of garlic and citrus extract and produced in a pellet format. Besides in the UK, the additive has been trialed in the US - at the University of California Davis, where methane emissions were reduced by up to 23% on average; at Purdue University, where up to 25% methane reductions were achieved in field trial with beef steers; and in the Netherlands, where methane at a commercial veal farm was reduced by 23% on average.

The ice cream, which is available from Ruby Violet’s Kings Cross location in London, England, is called MaxiMootral, a play on the parlor’s MaxiMooMoo plain dairy ice cream, which typically used as a base to complement other flavors. The low-emissions version will be available for a limited time only.

A Mootral spokesperson told us: “Enteric fermentation tends to be the largest source of GHG emissions on a dairy farm. We have partnered with Ruby Violet in order to demonstrate to dairy producers that delicious, yet sustainable dairy can be made accessible today. We look forward to working with the dairy industry to tackle the largest source of emissions in their supply chain at scale over the coming months.”

Julie Fisher, founder of Ruby Violet, added: “At Ruby Violet we really care about the environment and our impact on it, and working with the people at Mootral is an exciting and groundbreaking step to further lower our carbon footprint. Our MaxiMootral ice cream is an inspiring collaboration between two innovators working for a more sustainable future.”

Mootral’s ‘cattle-generated’ carbon credits

In other news, Mootral recently launched a carbon credits program that rewards farmers who use the company’s ruminant feed. CowCredits are generated based on a reduction of methane from enteric fermentation and are issued by non-profit organization Verra, the NGO behind voluntary carbon markets program the Verified Carbon Standard. Proceeds made from purchases of the carbon credits are then paid back to the farmers to subsidize the cost of the feed. Each credit equals a reduction of 1 ton of CO2.


Effect of a garlic and citrus extract supplement on performance, rumen fermentation, methane production, and rumen microbiome of dairy cows
Khurana, R., et al
Published: Journal of Dairy Science, July 2023
DOI: 10.3168/jds.2022-22838

A garlic and citrus extract: Impacts on behavior, feed intake, rumen fermentation, and digestibility in sheep
Ahmed, E., et al
Published: Animal Feed Science and Technology, August 2021
DOI: 10.1016/j.anifeedsci.2021.115007

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