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The Inside Scoop: Purdue’s new ice cream

We may all scream for ice cream, but few are more enthusiastic about it than Purdue’s new president, Mung Chiang. At the 2023 Ag Alumni Fish Fry, Chiang tried some of Purdue’s own Ever Truly Mint ice cream and knew immediately he wanted to add an ice cream flavor of his own to a long Purdue tradition.

Ice cream has a long history at Purdue. The Purdue University Creamery, run from the 1910s to 1969 in Smith Hall, processed milk into everything from butter to cottage cheese to ice cream. When it closed down, the ice cream churn and vanilla ice cream formula were passed onto Glover’s Ice Cream Inc, which made several beloved flavors for Pappy’s Sweet Shop in the Purdue Memorial Union, a retro-style diner that ran from 1927 to the summer of 2020. 

Glover’s, established in 1925 and now the last independent ice cream company in Indiana, discontinued their lines of Pappy’s flavors during the pandemic. With Chiang’s excitement around reconnecting with the university’s ice cream tradition, Glover’s has agreed to co-manufacture two ice creams using Pappy’s famous vanilla base.

When Allie Kingery, managing director of the Food Entrepreneurship Manufacturing Institute (FEMI) in the Food Science Department, received the request from the president’s office to create a new ice cream flavor, she was thrilled at the opportunity for the new institute. FEMI provides services to help entrepreneurs get their products on the shelves and aids in solving industry challenges.  

Kingery explained that student contributors are an essential part of FEMI’s operations. “FEMI hires primarily juniors and seniors from all across the College of Agriculture. They get exposed to industry partners, they collect data and then they present the data back to the company with the support of faculty and staff that have been on the project and can vet the work that they've done. Very few projects happen without the support of undergraduates, and the ice cream project was totally student-led. They took it all the way from concept to production.”

FEMI Students at Purdue FEMI students involved in the project include: Alexandra Neikirk, Charles Steadham, Ezequiel Bleifeld, Doriane Sossou, Teresa King, Rong Yang, Areeb Ahmed, Linh Nghiem
The FEMI student contributors jumped at the chance to make a new ice cream flavor. They brainstormed and made a list of several different black-and-gold ice cream flavors, from which Chiang chose a few for them to make. Kingery said that the students “experimented a little bit too, with different ice cream equipment, ice cream based formulas and the incorporation of a lot of unique ingredients.”

Doriane Sossou, a food science major, said that the work on ice cream at FEMI was also relevant to her studies. “We had to make sure you have the right ratio of the cream to the other ingredients. You don't want your ice cream to be really icy or to melt.”

Another food science student involved with the project, Alexandra Neikirk, said that her favorite part was “seeing the flavors come together and to know that we're making a product that tastes good and that people will enjoy.”

President Chiagn taste testing ice cream flavors. Purdue President Mung Chiang taste-tests the ice cream varieties created for him by the FEMI student contributors

Chiang tasted the options that the students presented and chose his two favorites: an espresso flavor with a caramel swirl and a caramel flavor with chocolate chips. Instead of deciding between the two on his own, he passed the decision on to incoming freshmen during their Boiler Gold Rush (BGR) orientation. Around 450 students tried the two flavors, selected their favorite, and then voted on a name for each in an online survey.

It’s no secret that I love a good scoop of ice cream and the Old Gold and Black. This ice cream embodies the Purdue spirit. We are thrilled to reestablish the original Purdue Creamery vanilla recipe in One Giant Scoop while also introducing the new Boiler Chips that is developed by the FEMI Team in the College of Agriculture and tested by the Boiler Gold Rush students and group leaders. Thanks to all the Boilermakers involved. It tastes like victory!”

- Purdue President Mung Chiang

Freshman Divya Manvikar shared that the espresso with caramel swirl was her favorite. “I’m a big coffee fan. I feel like the flavor might be a little strong for other people, but coffee and caramel are my favorite flavors.”

Other students, such as Lianna Hasewinkle from animal sciences, agreed that the caramel just had a greater overall appeal. “I thought it was really good. I’m not a big caramel fan, but even I liked it.”

Once all the votes were counted and the names were in, all the people involved in the project from Chiang to Kingery and the FEMI students to Glover’s were excited to see one ice cream had clearly melted the hearts of the new Purdue students. The caramel with chocolate chip won the competition and was named Boiler Chips.

Two ice creams have now been produced: the classic Pappy’s vanilla and Boiler Chips. Frank Schoensiegel, the chief operating officer at Glover’s, recently welcomed students from the FEMI for a day of production work in his company’s factory, a red brick building in Frankfort, Indiana, that feels like a portal back in time. 

Past the arched doorways and thick, hardwood freezer doors, the set-up remains close to what it was 100 years ago. Schoensiegel walked the students through the different processes at his shop: how to use a churn, when to add the chocolate chips to the fruit feeder, and what rhythm to follow as they filled and closed the cups. Glover’s will be donating 25 cents from the sale of each cup to FEMI. “We love this relationship with Purdue, and we want to keep that history alive.”

Schoensiegel shared that Glover’s “is a legacy business. We have the same recipes, the same equipment, and the same care for our ice cream. I personally flavor every batch that we make.” These new ice creams will be mixed in the churn from the Purdue University Creamery and all filled by hand, just like Glover’s has done for nearly 100 years. 

Boiler Chips and Pappy’s vanilla, under its new name One Giant Scoop, will be served at big events around Purdue starting September 16 at the home football game. They will also soon be available in the Purdue Memorial Union market. 

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