Ice cream that melts more slowly could soon be available, thanks to a new food ingredient developed by Scottish scientists.
Researchers at the Universities of Edinburgh and Dundee have discovered a naturally occurring protein that can be used to create ice cream that is more resistant to melting.
The protein binds together the air, fat and water in ice cream, creating a super-smooth consistency.
The new ingredient could enable ice creams to keep frozen for longer in hot weather and could also prevent gritty ice crystals from forming, ensuring a fine, smooth texture like those of luxury ice creams.
Not only could it mean the end of sticky hands in the summer, but the new ice cream would also have lower levels of saturated fat - and fewer calories.
The protein, known as BslA, was developed with support from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council.
Professor Cait MacPhee, of the University of Edinburgh's School of Physics and Astronomy, who led the project, said: "We're excited by the potential this new ingredient has for improving ice cream, both for consumers and for manufacturers."
They estimate that ice cream made with the ingredient could be available within three to five years.