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Unilever Is Rethinking Ice Cream to Reduce Emissions and Energy Costs

Unilever Raises the (Temperature) Bar

Unilever, the folks behind Ben & Jerry’s, Breyer’s, Klondike and Talenti, recently issued a groundbreaking announcement – at least in the world of ice cream. Unilever is rethinking how it formulates its frozen desserts to withstand a warmer holding temperature of 10°F rather than the historical industry standard of 0°F. This endeavor could have a significant impact on the broader market in light of the fact that the multinational consumer goods leader controls nearly 20% of the global ice cream market. 


Furthermore, achieving this feat could deliver Unilever tremendous environmental and economic results – reducing the energy use and carbon emissions of 3 million freezers by up to 30%.

The Massive Costs of Cooling

Cooling plays a critical function of ensuring the safety and quality of Unilever’s food and beverage products, especially ice cream. Despite its necessity, refrigeration also causes negative environmental and economic outcomes. 

Refrigeration causes more warming than most of us imagine. Consider that Unilever’s 3 million ice cream freezers account for roughly 10% of the company’s overall greenhouse gas footprint. That is astounding, especially in light of the fact that Unilever owns more than 400 brands worldwide.

In addition to emitting greenhouse gasses, cooling is incredibly energy-intensive and drives up the company’s electricity costs, a trend that has been exacerbated in recent years by the rising price of energy. Small business owners have been especially impacted and have therefore searched for innovative strategies to reduce electricity consumption. 

Unilever noticed some of these cost-cutting efforts in 2022 when it learned that many convenience store owners who sell its ice cream products were manually shutting off their freezers earlier in the day, which hurt sales by compromising product quality. These practices, along with rising concerns around sustainability, motivated Unilever to innovate.

How Unilever Is Innovating 

To offset cooling costs, Unilever has begun reformulating some of its ice cream to  withstand a higher temperature of 10°F instead of the historical industry standard of 0°F.

Accomplishing this product innovation has the potential to deliver tremendous environmental and economic results by reducing both the energy use and emissions of each freezer by 20% - 30%.

Therma° Cooling Intelligence Platform™ (TCIP) 

Unilever’s efforts to rethink ice cream refrigeration demonstrate the urgent need to make cooling more cost-efficient and climate-friendly. Therma directly supports this mission by bringing optimization to HVAC and refrigeration equipment, which delivers guaranteed 10% savings on monthly electricity bills while significantly reducing our customers’ carbon footprint.

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