Craving for ice cream but minus the guilt? Then the Brown Rice Cracker-Ice Cream Sandwich (BRICS), when available, will be for you!

Imagine luscious ice cream made from fresh buffalo’s milk sandwiched in crackers made from brown rice flour. Healthy and mouth-watering at the same time, BRICS is definitely a better alternative to commercial ice cream sandwich. It is expected to be out in the market by late December 2018.

BRICS is born out of a 2016 consumer-driver market study by PhilRice’s Josefina F. Ballesteros, El Shaira A. Labargan, Rosaly V. Manaois, Amelia V. Morales, and Dr. Riza G. Abilgos-Ramos. Based on the survey results, consumers associate health and wellness with the concepts of food, diet, and nutrition. Hence, there’s a market opportunity for new rice-based products that offer a wide range of health and nutritional benefits.

According to Labargan, BRICS chose brown rice flour for its nutritional superiority. It has higher amounts of protein, dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals, and several health-enhancing benefits owing to the bioactive compounds that the whole grain carries. Buffalo’s milk is an excellent and versatile replacement of cow’s milk because it produces better ice cream body and texture. Its calcium content is known to be substantially richer and a good source of magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium. The cholesterol content of buffalo’s milk is also 79% lower than cow’s milk!


Consumer-driver product

Among other ice cream sandwiches in the market, BRICS is probably the healthiest one yet. At a projected selling price of P30 each, BRICS eaters will not only get to indulge their sweet tooth but also fill up their nutritional requirements for the day.

The study behind BRICS found that convenient, nutritious, and healthy rice-based bakery products are highly appealing and most likely to be bought by majority (61-85%) of consumers from Central Luzon. Pre-packaged bakery food products such as biscuits, breads, and chips were the most commonly purchased items at 71%. The data from the study inspired the creation of BRICS that was rated 8.4 out of a 9-point scale, which means the target consumers highly approved the product! “BRICS is from and for the consumers,” Ballesteros was emphatic.


Hitting two birds with one stone

Aside from the nutritional benefits of BRICS, it was also developed to show farmers that rice-based products can be an additional source of income.

BRICS adds more value to rice and transforms it to a healthier version, thereby addressing two of the most pressing problems of Filipino farmers: poverty and malnutrition. The research team considers the development of BRICS as a holistic solution because the basic needs of rice-based farm households gravitate around income and nutrition.

“If rice-based farmers have something to sell other than palay, they earn more income. If they have something nutritious to eat, then they will be nourished,” Dr. Abilgos- Ramos figured out.

“In providing additional sources of income through BRICS, we address poverty because there will be continuous transactions of money in the community. BRICS also addresses malnutrition because it is healthy and convenient at the same time,” Ballesteros concluded.

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Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) is a government corporate entity attached to the Department of Agriculture created through Executive Order 1061 on 5 November 1985 (as amended) to help develop high-yielding and cost-reducing technologies so farmers can produce enough rice for all Filipinos.

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Philippine Rice Research Institute