Although hard ice cream continues to dominate the market, soft serve is more popular than ever, served in crepes, waffles and sundaes. It actually has a number of advantages over hard ice cream.

  • Once set up, the machine is fully automatic–no training
  • Since It is usually made by the customer or sales person, there is no manufacturing cost.
  • It has high overrun (air), so ingredient costs are low.
  • Most soft serve machines have refrigerated hoppers, so overnight storage freezers are unnecessary.
  • You can create a variety of flavors using toppings and charge extra for them.

Parents love the low price and kids love to make their own sundaes. In upscale shops, soft serve is married to fancy crepes and Belgium waffles or made into sundaes. It is a rich, creamy treat and fun to eat.

Soft serve ice cream has a similar makeup to regular, but contains less milkfat, often 3% to 5%. The amount of air is greater, between 33%-45%. The higher air content gives it a lighter, fluffy texture and the scoop can stand higher.

Soft serve base is similar to hard ice cream, but has less milkfat, often 3% to 6%. A higher air content, between 33% and 45% of the volume, gives it a lighter, fluffy texture. This not only affects the taste but the texture as well. 

Tom Carvel

Tom Carvel, the founder of the Carvel brand, suffered a flat tire in his ice cream truck. He pulled into a parking lot and began selling his melting ice cream. Within two days he had sold out and concluded that soft frozen desserts were a potentially a good business.

In 1936, Carvel opened his first store on the original broken down truck site and developed a secret soft serve ice cream formula as well as patented super low temperature ice cream machines, just to make soft serve.