Ice cream in China doesn't melt, comes under fire from netizens, sparks investigations

Will it melt in your stomach?

Fiona Tan | July 10, 2022, 10:50 AM

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An ice cream brand in China, Zhong Xue Gao (钟薛高), or Chicecream, has come under fire after some consumers realised that one of its popsicles seemingly does not melt, even when intense heat is applied.

Videos of popsicles withstanding extreme heat making the rounds

Several photos and videos of Chicecream's Sea Salt Coconut ice cream popsicle have been making the rounds on Chinese social media platform Weibo and the internet.

Perhaps the most compelling of the lot was a video that showed the popsicle withstanding the fiery heat from a blowtorch.

In the video, a man can be seen torching a blue and cream-coloured Sea Salt Coconut popsicle with a butane blowtorch.

Image screenshot from video by 半生开箱/YouTube.

For those who are unaware, a blowtorch can minimally reach a temperature of at least 1,200°C, while ice cream melts at sub-zero temperatures, depending on its composition.

An ice cream product ought to melt as soon as temperatures go above 0°C.

However, this was not the case for Chicecream's logic-and heat-defying popsicle, which merely turned brown, and started to char in the video whilst under harsh direct flame.

Image screenshot from video by 半生开箱/YouTube.

The man remarked towards the end of the video that it took a long time before the popsicle finally produced a singular droplet of liquid, which landed on the table's surface.

By then, the popsicle had been torched to a point where the surface exposed to the flame had completely blackened.

Image screenshot from video by 半生开箱/YouTube.

There have been more videos in the same vein that showed curious individuals putting the Chicecream popsicle under the direct flame from lighters, and even stovetops.

Similarly, these popsicles bizarrely managed to withstand the extreme heat produced by the very hot flames.

Centre panel shows the side exposed to the flame. Image screenshot from video by 穿帮君/Weibo.

There are also photos showing the ice cream popsicle remaining in a pristine form despite being left outside at room temperature (31°C) for over 50 minutes.

The popsicle remained and retained its shape and appeared to have molten globby texture when the ice cream stick was lifted up.

Image from Weibo.

Questions raised about the "Hermès of ice cream"

The popsicle's apparent resistance to heat has caused many to raise questions about Chicecream, the first of which were against the ice cream brand itself.

Known widely as the "Hermès of ice cream" in China, Chicecream prides itself as a luxury ice cream brand equivalent to renowned Western brands, such as Magnum and Häagen-Dazs.

It even has exorbitant price tags to match, as its most expensive offering – Ecuador Pink – costs 66 yuan (S$13.80) a pop.

The brand's founder explained the high price point in a 2021 interview, claiming that all of Chicecream's products were made using 100 per cent natural and non-processed premium ingredients.

However, the photos and videos of the hardy and globby ice cream popsicle proved otherwise, and many have begun to wonder if it is loaded with additives instead.

Chicecream's response

The company responded to the photos and videos circulating and put out two statements on Jul. 5 and Jul. 6 separately.

Regarding the quality of their ice cream, Chicecream said: "We think it is unscientific to judge the quality of ice cream by baking, drying, or heating it."

The company explained that their products are able to retain its form above 0°C as they contain very little water.

Besides the water found naturally occurring in the ingredients, the brand said it does not add any additional water into its products.

Additionally, Chicecream products contain carrageenan, a food additive and stabiliser derived from a red seaweed, "Irish Moss".

Widely approved by food safety governing bodies, such as the United States Food and Drug Administration, carrageenan is used to preserve structure and is commonly found in mass-produced ice creams.

Chicecream claimed that its Sea Salt Coconut Ice Cream has an "appropriate amount of carrageenan, where each 78g popsicle contains 0.032g of carrageenan.

The company also claimed that this amount is in compliance with the Chinese government's food additives regulations.

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Top image from Saywee website and Weibo