Cool Whip is a brand of imitation whipped cream named a whipped topping by its manufacturer. It is used in North America as a dessert topping and in some no-bake pie recipes. It was originally described as "non-dairy" as it contained no cream or milk and no lactose; however, it did contain the milk derivative casein. In 2010 both skimmed milk and light cream were added to Original Cool Whip.
Cool Whip was introduced in 1966 by the Birds Eye division of General Foods. Within two years of introduction, it became the largest and most profitable product in the Birds Eye line of products. Birds Eye later merged with Kraft Foods and Philip Morris, eventually becoming part of Altria Group until the spin-off of Kraft Foods from Altria in 2006.
Cool Whip was invented by William A. Mitchell, a food chemist at General Foods Corporation. The key advantage of the invention was that it was a whipped cream-like product that could be distributed in a frozen state by grocery chains and kept in the consumer's refrigerator.
Cool Whip is manufactured in Avon, New York for the United States and Canadian markets. It is sold in 8 oz. (226 g) and larger plastic tubs produced by Berry Plastics and is distributed through grocery outlets in a frozen state, and is refrigerated in the home prior to serving. Each nine gram serving provides 25 kcal (105 kJ) energy of which 1.5 g or 15 kcal (63 kJ) are fat.
The varieties currently sold are Original, Extra Creamy, French Vanilla, Chocolate, Light, Reduced Fat, Free (fat-free), and Sugar-Free, made with Splenda. Strawberry is sold seasonally, typically in the summer. French Vanilla and chocolate are also seasonal flavors, typically being sold around Thanksgiving and Christmas. In fall 2011, a new flavor, cinnamon, was introduced along with French vanilla and chocolate. In California the Fat-Free variety is labeled as Ultra-low Fat. In 2008, Cool Whip was introduced in an aerosol can so as to compete with Reddi-wip.
Cool Whip Original is made of water, hydrogenated vegetable oil (including coconut and palm oils), high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, skimmed milk, light cream, and less than 2% sodium caseinate (a milk derivative), natural and artificial flavor, xanthan and guar gums, polysorbate 60, sorbitan monostearate, and beta carotene (as a coloring). In some markets, such as Canada and the United States, Cool Whip is available in an aerosol can using nitrous oxide as a propellant. Cool Whip was formerly marketed as non-dairy, but in Jewish dietary traditions, Cool Whip was classified as dairy rather than parve (non-meat and non-dairy) because of the sodium caseinate (which is derived from milk). Cool Whip now contains milk and cream.