Ice cream cones are meant to be savored slowly, taking your time to ensure that every drop of creamy goodness finds its way into your mouth. But that's a pretty difficult task during the hot summer months, as the ice cream tends to melt faster than you can eat it. You don't want to spend your time enjoying Rocky Road inside a freezer, so what are you to do? Thankfully, science has found an answer: A single protein is exactly what is needed to keep ice cream from melting.

Researchers from the University of Edinburgh and Dundee have found a naturally occurring protein that could slow ice cream’s melting process, which would allow the ice cream to stay frozen longer and prevent ice crystals from ruining that delicious texture. In an added twist, the new protein would be replacing the ice cream’s fat cells, which would lower the saturated fat levels, which means fewer calories than those currently on the market. It would still taste the same, just be a little bit better for you.

The protein — BslA (Bacterial Surface Layer A) — is found naturally on and in colonies of friendly bacteria called Bacillus subtilis. The protein serves as a coating that protects the bacteria from the elements. The researchers found that BslA could be used to form and bind the air, fat, and ice that make up ice cream. Just as it protects the bacteria, the protein binds fat droplets and ice bubbles in the ice cream, keeping it stable and less susceptible to melting.

“We’re excited by the potential this new ingredient has for improving ice cream, both for consumers and for manufacturers,” Professor Cait McPhee said in a press release. Manufacturers would be able to create the ice cream without compromising performance and it could be made through sustainable raw materials. They would also benefit from the reduction of deep freezing the ice cream, as the protein would keep the ice cream colder for longer. Transportation of the ice cream would be less costly, as it would not need to be kept as cold during delivery.

McPhee said that the protein also has the prospect of reducing sugar content and could be used in everything from mousse to mayo to help reduce calories. Though it might seem like the protein is ready to go since it is naturally occurring and being sued in other foods, McPhee said it will still be about five years until you find it in your ice cream.