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It’s generally a bit more expensive and you often can’t order it from your wholesaler with the rest of your food. So what’s the deal with artisan ice cream? Is it really any different to other ice creams? Will your customers notice if you just buy the cheaper ice cream? Is it worth the bother of ordering separately?

Most ice cream is made by ‘continuous production’ – a factory line – ingredients go in one end and tubbed ice cream comes out the other. It is churned quickly adding in up to 70% air in the process. Artisan ice cream is made by ‘batch production’ – it’s handmade – ingredients are mixed together in small batches before being poured into a batch freezer which churns them slowly adding in around 10-12% air. Already that’s a huge difference. There’s much more ‘stuff’ in artisan ice cream. A litre of Rays Ice Cream weighs approx. 900g. A litre of cheap ice cream might weigh 350g – it’s mostly air!

The quality of the ingredients used can differ vastly too. We use local whole milk, double cream, sugar and a natural stabiliser as our base. Have a look at the ingredient labels on many ice creams and you might be very surprised. I won’t name names but there’s one ‘premium’ brand which you’ll know, made by an international conglomerate, that contains no milk or cream at all! You’ll often see cheap fillers being used, veg oil for example.

An artisan ice cream will be fresher than others, with fewer food miles. It will often be made to order and if it isn’t it’s likely to have been made in the week or two prior to delivery. Commercial producers make in bulk, store in bulk, transport greater distances – often to store it again – before sale.


They may not know the technical reasons behind why, but what your customers will notice is the luxurious feel in their mouth, the more intense flavour without the awful artificial sweetness. They’ll probably notice the more subtle colour, and maybe the more unusual flavour choices, and they will notice it fills them up faster!

My husband and I were eating out with our 8 year old daughter a few months back. We had finished our mains and our plates had been cleared. The pub owner, a really nice chatty man, came over excitedly with a ‘treat’ for Grace. Fortunately, she waited until he was out of earshot before saying ‘eeww, what’s that?!’ Assuming she was overreacting, I tried the strawberry ice cream she had kindly been given – it was bright pink, the first taste was overly sweet, the texture was crunchy with ice crystals that somehow dissolved to powder on the tongue – really unpleasant.

One of our Rays Ice Cream shop customers was in the other day and told us a story about her daughter who is 13. Their local pub has started stocking Rays Ice Cream, the daughter noticed the sign outside the front door, was very excited about it so the family went for dinner. It’s a great foodie pub and they enjoyed their main course. The daughter ordered Rays chocolate ice cream for dessert, she immediately said ‘that’s not Rays Ice Cream.’ They called the waitress who said it was indeed Rays Ice Cream. But the daughter was so insistent that the waitress went to check with the kitchen. The chef admitted they were using up the last of the ice cream from the previous supplier and it wasn’t Rays Ice Cream at all – and the 13 year old could tell!

 So yes, I think your customers will notice. Maybe they won’t mention it, but it might be one of many details that make them love their experience, as opposed to merely enjoying it. Customers notice the detail. The level of enjoyment of a dessert has been proven to make the difference between good and great reviews – check out my blog for more on this.


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