Ice cream fans, remember this day. This could be a day you’ll hold dear as the day when the summer ice cream game changed forever.
Researchers from the University of Edinburgh and the University of Dundee have found a way to develop a naturally-occurring protein that might keep the sweet stuff frozen for a longer period of time outside the icebox.
The protein is called BsIA and is found in many foods as a helpful bacteria. The team can now produce it, and believe it could be making life less melty in as soon as three to five years. BsIA keeps a cone or cup frozen for longer by binding together the air, fat, and water in ice cream, which prevents it from becoming a sweet, sticky mess on your hands (at least not immediately anyway). By keeping the oil and fats better melded, air can’t escape as quickly and the frozen treat stays frozen.
The good news doesn’t end there. The use of the protein means that some of the fatty molecules are being replaced, resulting in ice cream that is lower in saturated fat, sugar, and calories. (The protein could theoretically be added to other foods in the future.) BsIA also helps to create a smoother texture—all without changing the taste of your favorite scoop.
Professor Cait MacPhee of the University of Edinburgh, who led the team, told the BBC: "It's not completely non-melting because you do want your ice cream to be cold. It will melt eventually but hopefully by keeping it stable for longer it will stop the drips."
As anyone with a chocolate-stained top, pants, dress or face can attest, that is something worth screaming for.