Frozen Whip Topping is a commercial product marketed as a substitute for whipped cream.
It has several use advantages:
- costs less than dairy-based whipping cream;
- holds its shape longer than real whipped cream
- can be whipped after freezing, which whipping cream cannot be;
- volume increases by 300%, compared to 150% for whipping cream;
- it is both kosher and parve, which real cream is not;
- can be re-whipped.
Some find the taste too sweet, and compare it to marshmallows. Many people just don’t like the taste period, or are still suspicious of using artificial substitutes, or just prefer the taste of real whipped cream.
Don’t even think of thawing Frozen Whip Topping in the microwave. Thaw in fridge for 4 to 5 hours. Once thawed, use within 2 weeks.
If a recipe calls for 1 tub, assume it means 8 oz (225g) unless otherwise specified.
1 8oz (225g) container contains 3 1/2 cups.
1 cup frozen whipped topping, thawed = 1 cups whipping cream, whipped or 1/2 cup whipping cream, before whipping.
Proof of concept soy-based whip toppings had been developed experimentally by Robert Boyer and other researchers at the Carver Laboratories in Greenfield Village, Dearborn, Michigan (funded by Henry Ford) in the early 1930s.
Rich’s® Whip Topping® was the first commercially- available frozen topping not to use dairy. It was launched in April 1945.
The product was created Robert E. Rich (7 July 1913 Buffalo New York – 15 February 2006, Palm Beach.) He had 4 siblings. His father made ice cream for a living in an ice cream factory that he owned. Robert worked at his father’s ice cream factory.
In 1935, Robert graduated from the University of Buffalo. He had been captain of the football team there. He bought a small milk factory of his own in Buffalo, called Wilber Farms Dairy, located at 1149 Niagara Street in Buffalo.
In 1943, he was sent to Detroit to administer milk orders for Michigan on behalf of the War Food Administration. While in Detroit, he came into contact with Ford Hospital there, and he learned that the hospital’s milk and cream supply was not affected by war rationing, because they used soy milk and cream from the Carver Laboratories in Greenfield Village, Dearborn, Michigan.
Rich visited the labs. There he learned that Ford would licence his method of extracting protein from soybeans for $1.00 a year. Rich started to think about a soy cream that would also be whippable (as whipping cream was banned outright in America during the war.) Based on his musings, he hired chemists to help him find an emulsifier that would work the way he wanted in a whipped soy cream topping. The choice was narrowed down to “propylene glycol monostearate.”
At this, when Ford changed his mind and refused to licence the protein extraction method, Rich developed his own, better method.
By November 1944, he knew he had a product based on soy protein he could sell. He started his company, Rich Products Corporation, in 1944 in Buffalo, New York. He used part of his Wilbur dairy plant . The product hit the market in Buffalo on 31 March 1945.
He sold it in half-pint heavy wax paper cartons, as a thick liquid, to people who were already his customers for his milk. He advertised it as a “Miracle Cream from the Soybean.” On a sales trip to Long Island, New York, later that year, he froze his samples by accident by packing them in too much dry ice. At the meeting, he whipped up the frozen cream anyway, and found that its whipping abilities hadn’t been affected by being frozen. He realized this meant he could now sell it to other than just local customers, if he sold it frozen. In January 1946, he ran his first ad for his frozen product.
After 20 November 1946, he had to think of a new marketing strategy – that was the date that the American government suddenly lifted its ban on whipping cream, and he found that many of his orders were cancelled overnight at a time when he had just built a new plant to handle the demand.
He obtained kosher and parve certification from the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, and by the end of 1948, sales had recovered to 1946 levels.
In 1948, he switched to selling it already whipped, in metal containers, pressurized to 90 pounds PSI with carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide.
Starting in 1949, he had to fight many battles against vested interests in the dairy industry, that had sought to hinder if not out-right ban such products that could compete with them.
In May 1956, he introduced a second, alternative Rich’s Whip Topping based on coconut oil, using methyl ethyl cellulose (the original based on soybean continued to be sold). The one based on coconut oil had a better shelf life and better life, could be whipped to a higher degree of stiffness, and increased in volume by 400%. It would hold its flavour and shape in room temperatures as high as 80 F (27 C) for up to 2 days.
By the mid-1960s, the product had switched from using soy protein in the topping sold to consumers, replacing it with “isolated soy proteins” purchased from Ralston Purina.
Cool Whip was introduced to the market in 1966. Made from palm kernel oil, it was sold whipped, in tubs. Cool Whip can be thawed and refrozen, and will hold its shape.
Cool Whip was invented by William A. Mitchell (1911 – 2004.) He was a chemist for General Foods. He was born in Raymond, Minnesota. After junior high school, he worked his way through college, then got a job at the Agricultural Experiment Station in Lincoln, Nebraska. During the war, he developed an alternative to tapioca (of which supplies were restricted.) After the war, during the 1950s, he also invented the candy called “Pop Rocks.”
Cool Whip was sold at first by the Birdseye Division of General Foods.