SDSU’s favorite sweet gets fresh look

By Jordan Smith Managing Editor

From start to finish, SDSU creates, manufactures and sells their trademark SDSU Ice Cream. To go along with it, there’s a new face on the packaging. The Dairy Science department, along with University Marketing and Communications, has redesigned the way that the ice cream containers look.

The SDSU Dairy Farm has its own cows that produce the raw milk that is used to make SDSU Ice Cream. The milk is separated into skim and cream and then is combined back so that they meet the federal standards.

All SDSU Ice Cream is made and packaged in the SDSU Davis Dairy Plant. The sweetening ingredients are then added to give the ice cream either a vanilla or chocolate flavor. The mixture is then pasteurized to kill all of the pathogens. After the mixture reaches the high temperature for pasteurization, they are sent to the ice cream tank. From there, the ice cream goes to the flavor tank where the base flavor is added. The base then goes to the ice cream freezer. From the freezer, the ice cream goes through the fruit feed where fruit or nuts can be added as well as the revel flavor. After the ice cream has its flavor and is frozen to the right temperature, it goes to the ice cream filler where it get filled in either 56 ounce or 3 gallon containers.

The process from start to freeze takes 6 hours and between 600-1,000 gallons of ice cream is made said John Haberkorn, Davis Dairy Plant manager. The dairy plant has between 60-70 flavors of ice cream that they make. Each time, the plant tries to keep about 10 of the most popular flavors as well as rotate in holiday ice cream. A few flavors featured around the holidays include pumpkin, apple strudel and peppermint.

All but two of the workers at the dairy plant are student employees, according to Vikram Mistry, dairy science department head. Graduate students also help out in the plant as well as work on their graduate research projects.

Junior dairy manufacturing major Della Stage, an employee at the dairy plant said that the students that work at the Dairy Bar do everything from cleaning the machines at the plant to manufacturing cheese and ice cream, depending on the shift they are working.

“Many [dairy manufacturing] students end up in production plants in the future, so the dairy plant offers a hands on experience on a smaller scale of that work,” Stage said.

As the dairy plant manager, Haberkorn manages the operations, oversees the inventory and ensures the quality of the products, among other things.                    

“We are not in the business of making ice cream,” Mistry said. “We are in the business of educating dairy personnel for the industry and in the course of their training this is what happens.” 

Over the past two years, since the new Davis Dairy Science plant was built and the new Dairy Bar was opened. “It really opened our eyes to the need for new marketing and a new container for the ice cream,” Mistry said. The department felt they needed to give the packaging a new face to reflect the new facility.

On the new packaging is a connection to the Dairy Bar – around the bottom is grass, and the cows that are on the wallpaper in the Dairy Bar can be found on the container. An SDSU Ice Cream logo was also created for the package and is now used in the Dairy Bar as well.

The new packaging was also about marketing, Mistry said. The packaging makes the product look more modern and gives a chance to market the ice cream – when consumers buy it they know it is from SDSU.

“It is a ‘sweet deal’ to be able to use ice cream to promote the university,” Mistry said.

University Marketing and Communications helped to come up with the design of the ice cream container. The dairy science department and Davis Dairy Plant wanted an attractive design and something that would match the store. They also wanted to create a logo in order to make SDSU Dairy Bar products easily identifiable to consumers.

“The new container is a better representation of SDSU,” said Samantha Schaefer, junior dairy manufacturing major.

The SDSU Ice Cream is sold at about 15 locations. Brookings as well as towns in the surrounding area including Sioux Falls, DeSmet, Clear Lake and Huron sell the ice cream according to Mistry.

The dairy science department is looking to add single-serve ice cream, around six oz. The department is still working on the design of the container as well as the final serving size. The hope is to have the product design completed and in the store before summer, Mistry said.