Mackie’s of Scotland has been producing luxury ice cream using milk and dairy from its own herd since 1986 from its fourth generation family farm in Aberdeenshire.

The dairy has become one of Scotland’s iconic brands—listed in the top-ten Scottish Food & Drink brands in Scotland. Mackie’s ice cream is number-one in Scotland and firmly established as one of the top five of the UK’s most popular take-home ice creams.

The ice cream maker has an impressive green initiative and is already climate positive, producing ice cream with over 60% renewable energy generated by its own wind turbines and solar panels. Recently, cooling equipment experts at Starfrost, a full-service global refrigeration supplier specializing in CO2 and ammonia systems, partnered with Mackie’s of Scotland to install highly efficient freezing technology to improve and expand ice cream production at its dairy in Aberdeenshire.

Starfrost's Helix CO2-based spiral freezer

Yzanne Turbett, project manager of Mackie’s of Scotland, shows off the new Starfrost Helix CO2-based spiral freezer, which has improved throughput, product consistency and texture. Photo courtesy of Mackie’s of Scotland

With an impressive and inspiring goal to become the most environmentally friendly company in the UK, Mackie’s of Scotland has invested £4.5 million (about $6.3 million) in new technology and development of its dairy. The recent freezer replacement project from Starfrost forms part of the large-scale, green initiative implemented by Mackie’s of Scotland.

The Helix spiral freezer is a low carbon design that uses eco-friendly C02 as a refrigerant, which has no impact on global warming or ozone depletion in comparison to CFCs and HCFCs, and provides a reliable and future-proof solution for the dairy as CO2 is unaffected by HFC restrictions.

In addition to the energy efficiency benefits, the spiral freezer installed at Mackie’s has enhanced the quality of the ice cream produced at the dairy. Blind taste trials were conducted by Mackie’s own board of research developers; the team compared ice cream frozen by both the Starfrost Helix spiral freezer and the previously used freezing system. The Starfrost freezing system scooped up success in the trials with a unanimous vote based upon taste and texture of the ice cream.

Yzanne Turbett, project manager of Mackie’s of Scotland, talks about the freezer project and the benefits the Helix spiral freezer has made to production: “We have been excited about implementing this innovative technology; we had a much needed requirement to increase freezing capacity of our ice cream to meet increasing demand and took the opportunity to explore equipment that would further improve processes within the dairy. The importance of consistent, rapid freezing is fundamental to the quality of frozen products, therefore the freezing system and the technology we selected was vital.”

“The new Starfrost system means that we now have the most efficient spiral freezer design combined with high performance freezing,” says Turbett. “The results are improved texture and consistency of Mackie’s of Scotland ice cream, as proven in our taste trial results.”

The Starfrost Helix spiral freezer has provided the dairy with energy-efficient freezing technology that meets the ice cream producer’s long-term plan while delivering product quality results. The energy saving design of spiral freezer allows Mackie’s production team to freeze at precisely correct temperatures and control the airflow of the system, using only required refrigeration and power.

The spiral freezer features a dual drum for maximum processing capacities and is designed to freeze over 40 two-liter tubs of ice cream per minute, with an ability to process varying sizes of product, which provides Mackie’s with opportunities to develop and diversify production in the future.

About Starfrost

Starfrost is a provider of cooling solutions for the global food processing industry. Since 1984, Starfrost has been pioneering cooling technology and delivering industrial freezing and chilling equipment to more than 60 countries, across six continents of the world.

Starfrost develops and builds strong partnerships with food processors to understand their processing needs and can deliver customized solutions that fit perfectly into production operations. The company’s team of expert engineers provides installation, modification, technical support and a comprehensive aftermarket service. Starfrost’s partnership with parent company Star Refrigeration, enables it to deliver complete turnkey solutions to its customer base.

Starfrost’s sister company in the U.S., Azane, is a manufacturer of low charge ammonia refrigeration solutions. Azane’s range of packaged systems all operate using ammonia—a naturally occurring refrigerant with zero ozone depletion potential and zero global warming potential. The supplier’s ammonia packages provide an efficient alternative to HCFC systems in response to the EPA’s R22 phase-out program.