So, #bgg2wlarmy member @ArriannaMarie hipped me to this, and man… listen. I literally laughed.
When product manufacturers want to cut costs or increase their profits, they can do one of several things. Many don’t want to raise prices because of the consumer backlash and possible reduction in sales. So, many choose to downsize the product as we have demonstrated here. Others take a less conventional approach and reformulate their product so that it is cheaper to produce and distribute.
Breyers downsized their half-gallons of ice cream first to 56 ounces and then again to 48 ounces around 2008.
Now they have taken a new tack. They are reformulating many of their flavors.
Take a look at “old” Breyer’s Vanilla Fudge Twirl ice cream:
Now take a look at the new package of “Vanilla Fudge Twirl”:
The new one is no longer even called “ice cream” but is now “frozen dairy dessert.” It is no longer “all natural” either. And the vanilla ice cream claim has been replaced with a “vanilla flavor claim.”
Under federal law, to be called “ice cream”, a product must meet a certain standard of identity, which in this case requires that there be at least 10% milk fat in the product. That generally would come from the cream in the product. If the product does not meet the federal “recipe” for ice cream, it has to be called something else. In this case, they are calling it frozen dairy dessert which has no federal definition (other than it does not meet the standards to be called ice cream.)
Here are the ingredients statements from both vanilla fudge twirl packages:
So. Let’s talk about these ingredients, shall we?
First, let’s be clear – ice cream should be little more than cream, milk, egg yolk, sugar and flavor. And, by flavor, I mean “vanilla,” “coffee,” “chocolate,” “berries,” – ahem – “bourbon,” something, whatever. In that order. The more ingredients there are than that in ice cream, the higher my eyebrow raises.
That being said, neither cream nor egg yolk come cheap. They just don’t. From a business standpoint, limiting an ice cream brand’s need to rely heavily on those ingredients makes good business sense. Is it fair to their loyal customers? Not if they didn’t make them aware of the change, absolutely not. No one inspects the exact same brand they always buy at the store every single time they buy it. If you go to your favorite store, walk down your favorite aisle, go in your favorite freezer on your favorite shelf and see your brand there… unless you’ve been burned before, you’re not going to reach for that product and inspect it from side to side. You just.. don’t. It’s unfair to assert otherwise. Who would notice?
If you’re cutting out all of the expensive ingredients in the ice cream, I have to wonder… are you also dropping the price, as well? And, considering the list of ingredients here, 48oz container or not, this isn’t worth much… and I’ll tell you why.
Ice cream is supposed to be highly caloric. Cream, milk, egg yolk (the fatty part of the egg)? That’s supposed to be fatty! If I pick up a clean brand of ice cream, and that joint has less than 15 grams of fat in a half-cup serving, I’m probably going to put it back. 3 grams of fat in ice cream is a major red flag. And that’s when I have to turn to the ingredients list.
Carob bean gum, tara gum and guar gum are known thickeners that add viscosity (a kind of creamy, fatty texture without the fat) to a liquid. (In fact, you can bet your bottom dollar that thae tara gum is doing the same thing for the “fudge twirl sauce” that it’s doing for the “frozen dairy dessert.”) Carrageenan – something we’ve discussed here, before – an ingredient extracted from wood pulp, seaweed and moss, is known to combine with water to form a gel-like texture. It brings the creamy and the smooth. Whey – you know the liquid stuff that tends to float above your greek yogurt before you stir it? that’s whey – is going to add milkiness to the mixture. It’s a great way to add milkiness to something that’s running low on milk. Corn syrup is still syrup – it’s thick. It adds thickness and liquid to an ice-cream-like mixture that is likely to be running low on the very things meant to make it milky and creamy – milk and cream.
What am I getting at? There’s a reason why this “dessert” has five different kinds of thickening agents instead of one, and we talked about it before in terms of sugar. Ingredients are listed on labels in order of volume. The more there is of any ingredient, the higher up it has to appear in the ingredient list. Much like how you’ll easily find 4 different kinds of sugar in a brand, and those four kinds of sugar will be scattered among the list somewhere near the end, if you have five different kinds of thickeners to an “ice cream” – and I’m specifically saying “ice cream” instead of whatever this stuff is called because I’m convinced that some of this stuff is being pulled by other brands, as well – then you don’t have to list any particular thickener as the primary ingredient in the product.
The amount of cream necessary to make ice cream is far more than it takes to make milk. Breyers was already cheating by having more milk than cream and adding whey to make up for it, but that’s nowhere near as heinous as everything required to make the so-called “frozen dairy dessert” indicative of the “quality” the brand has been known for “since 1866.”
What do I think? Ice cream is a treat. A gooey, flavorful, creamy, decadent treat. There is space for a clean, flavorful treat in a clean eating lifestyle, but acknowledge that because of the ingredients, it should come at a hefty price tag. It shouldn’t have a ton of sugar in single serving. One of my favorite brands of ice cream is almost $7 for two cups. And, since I ain’t ballin’, ice cream is not a regular thing in my house. I’ve even considered making semi-freddo – the kind of ice cream you make when you have no ice cream maker – at home, but last time I tried… it turned into a food fight in my house, and I now have PTSD (and probably still have bits of cream in my hair… gross.) But that’s even more expensive, and it’s a rarity that I have all of those ingredients in the house at the same time.
In short, I’ve had to resign ice cream to a rarity, and I’m okay with that. What about you? Do you have a favorite clean brand of ice cream? Spill it!