So are you being deceived by the ice cream industry? Not really. Ice cream is a whipped product just like whipped cream or whipped margarine. The amount of air (called “overrun”) incorporated into the ice cream mix is carefully calculated to produce the texture you know and love. Without added air, ice cream would be very dense and much harder and colder than it should be.
If ice cream is measured by volume and we know the industry adds air, why not make ice cream with 60% or 70% air? Companies could save money by selling you more air and could even market the product as having fewer calories. The answer lies in the FDA’s standard of identity for ice cream. To call it ice cream, it must weigh "not less than 4.5 pounds to the gallon." By declaring a density minimum, the FDA has effectively capped the amount of air that can be added to your ice cream.
Photography by Justin Kern