National Whip Cream Day

Cup of hot chocolate with whipped cream, by Herrick

Cup of hot chocolate with whipped cream, by Herrick

National Whip Cream Day is celebrated on July 5th of each year.  It is celebrated on the birthday of Reddi-wip founder and creator Aaron “Bunny” Lapin. He didn’t invent whipped cream, but he was the first person to put whipped cream in an aerosol spray that made him a multimillionaire in the process.

Reddi-wip was invented in 1948 by Aaron S. “Bunny” Lapin (January 5, 1914 in St. Louis, Missouri – July 10, 1999). He attended the University of Missouri and then went on to Washington University School of Law in St. Louis.

Starting out during the food rationing era of World War II, he invented Sta-Whip as a cream substitute using vegetable oil. After the war, he invented Reddi-Wip in 1948, using real cream, along with a new valve more suitable for whipped cream, with fluting to create a pleasant pattern and a tilt-to-open design that pops back to the center to preserve the propellant gases. He applied in 1949 and received a patent for “dispensing valves for gas pressure containers” in 1955. He achieved national distribution in 1954, and sold his company in 1963 to Norton Simon Inc. Norton Simon merged with Beatrice Foods in 1985. Then, in 1990, it was acquired by ConAgra, Norton Simon’s corporate heir.

Reddi-Wip is the brand of nitrous oxide propelled, sweetened whipped cream produced by ConAgra Foods. It is sold in the following varieties: Original, Extra-Creamy, Light, Fat-Free, Non-Dairy, and Chocolate. In the early 1980’s, then Reddi-Wip brand owner Hunt-Wesson Foods briefly experimented with Amaretto and Butterscotch flavors, which never took off.

The Original and Extra-Creamy come in 7oz. and 14oz. cans. All other varieties, except Chocolate, come in 7oz. cans only; with Chocolate available in 6.5oz. cans only. (The Reddi-Wip site even promotes consuming the Chocolate variety, especially, on its own, presumably – as is popular with many people – dispensing it straight from the can into one’s mouth.)

Despite being available in an aerosol can, it should be treated as regular cream: sealed and refrigerated when not being used. Nitrous oxide, the propellant used in Reddi-Wip (and approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)), is the same gas that is used as both a weak anesthetic (primarily by dentists) and a performance enhancing oxidizer in motorsports.

Reddi-Wip was originally packaged for years in Chicago, Illinois by Hunt-Wesson Foods and Beatrice Foods at Brookhill Farms Dairy until 1982. Operations were then moved to Holland, Michigan, and later sold to ConAgra Foods. In 2007, ConAgra relocated the production of Reddi-Wip to its Indianapolis, Indiana facility.