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By: John Maico M. Hernandez, DOST-PSTC Batangas

Sweet but healthy! The ice cream desert that we love has been made healthy and guilt-free particularly for overweight and diabetic.

The fourth episode of Provincial Science and Technology Center (PSTC) Batangas’ TechSilog Online Seminar Series Season 3 featured the Low-Fat Low-Sugar Ice Cream developed by Department of Science and Technology’s Food and Nutrition Research Institute’s (DOST-FNRI) aired via Zoom and Facebook Live, March 9.

More than 40 participants composed of micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), educators, students, researchers, government officers, and private organizations partook the activity. The discussion was led by Mr. Richard Lo Alcaraz, Science Research Specialist II at DOST-FNRI.

Obesity or overweight and diabetes are increasing at an alarming rate in Asian countries including here in the Philippines. Based on the Food and Nutrition Research Institute of Department of Science and Technology’s 8th National Nutrition Survey in 2013, 3 out of 10 Filipinos are either overweight or obese and 1 in every 16 adult individuals has diabetes. To combat these health problems, the institute developed this incredible guilt-free ice cream, dubbed as the Low-Fat Low Sugar Ice Cream. According to Mr. Alcaraz, this healthy frozen delight in a classic vanilla flavor is a delicious and inviting dessert which is good for weight-watchers. He mentioned that this contains 3.5% protein and energy of 139 kcal per 100g sample, which is much lower than the regular ice cream. Its fat content is only 1.7% compared with the commercial ice cream which normally holds 5 to 20% fat. Shelf life of this ice cream was identified for one year when properly stored in freezer at -18 °C or below.

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DOST-FNRI invested P1.1 million for the research and development of this low fat low sugar ice cream. Interested adoptors of this technology need to establish a production facility ranging from 400,000 - 3 million pesos depending on the scale of production. In the conducted financial feasibility study of the institute, 592, 292.88 pesos total project cost (initial capital) would cover the total pre-operating cost such as working capital, fixed asset and equipment (production facility or building is not included). Given this, Return of Investment (ROI) is projected at 58.56% in a payback period of 1.55 years. According to Mr. Alcaraz, this computation was projected at an average of 9,000 cones per month production capacity at 14.30 pesos selling price. The selling price is computed at 35% mark up. Hence, the suggested selling price of this low fat low sugar ice cream is 150 pesos per half gallon and P14 per cone (for soft serving).

Mr. Alcaraz also mentioned the market potential of this low-fat, low-sugar ice cream. For him, its marketing strength could be linked to its benefit as a healthy choice of people who want to reduce their calorie and fat consumption while still fulfilling their craving for a rich and refreshing dessert. Thus, this allows consumers to eat their favorite ice cream while maintaining a balanced diet. As discussed by Mr. Alcaraz, total available market of ice cream is estimated at 282 million US Dollars and the number of overweight or obese are still increasing yet Filipinos do not outgrow their childhood love for ice cream. Therefore, there is a great potential for low fat low sugar ice cream production, he said.

A 15,000 pesos licensing fee will be charged to interested adoptors of this technology as referred to the technology transfer mechanism of the institute. The institute’s licensing fee normally ranges from 5, 000.00 to 100,000.00 pesos depending on the technology that clients want to adopt. They also have free technologies available for adoption but are subject for evaluation and accreditation.

Participants were also given the chance to air their questions to the speaker during the program’s ConsulTalk segment. Most of the questions raised to the speaker focused on the taste of the product compared to the commercially available, infusion of other flavors and its effect to sweetness level and fat content of the product, consumption limitations, and the melting rate of the product.

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Meanwhile, DOST Batangas Provincial Director, Ms. Felina C. Malabanan, extended her message of gratitude to all the participants who keep on supporting PSTC Batangas’ efforts to promote DOST-developed technologies. As summer is waving, Ms. Malabanan also encouraged participants to adopt the technology given its strong market potential and its health benefits compared to the usual ice cream.