The company claims that the process produces an ice cream with the taste and texture of full-fat ice cream in a light product.
For a first application of the technology, the company will launch Dreyer's Grand Light and Edy's Grand Light in May this year.
"In blind national taste tests, nearly eight of 10 consumers concluded the new Dreyer's/Edy's Grand Light was either a full-fat premium or superpremium ice cream," said the company this week, hoping the new product will jump-start the light ice cream sector, that has seen flat-to-declining sales over the past few years.
New light ingredients match those in the current light product, but slow churning the ice cream kneads fat molecules at a colder temperature, stretching and distributing them widely so that the ice cream tastes like it contains more butterfat, said Dreyers.
Slow churning does not involve fat substitutes or artificial sweeteners, writes the US company, and because the slow churning works equally well on ice creams with higher fat formulas, the company is aiming to apply the new technology to other products in the future.
"By 2005, we will have invested a record $100 million in bringing this new and innovative method of making ice cream to American consumers," said Gary Rogers, Dreyer's chairman and chief executive officer. "This is the first major technological innovation in ice cream since the hand-cranked churn and milk pasteurisation. The potential is huge," he concluded.