Frozen Dairy Dessert, Really Breyer’s?

Okay, so apparently I am behind the 8 ball on this one as I’ve googled the subject and found lots of angry posts about Breyer’s addition of tara gum to their ‘all natural ice cream.’  I’ve been happily buying Breyer’s vanilla, chocolate and coffee ice cream for about 5 years after concluding that I can make my own healthier versions of the nasty loaded ice creams like super-chewy-brownie-fudge-oreo-sugar-chemical-soup-with-caramel by starting with a natural ice cream and adding nuts, home-made cookies or brownies or fruit.  Lately, my husband has been purchasing Breyer’s butter pecan and cherry vanilla.  What’s so un-natural about that?  Add a little cherries and vanilla right?  Add a little butter and pecans, right?  Indeed.  It would seem that adding more things requires the removal of some cream and the addition of a number of other chemicals.  These actions demotes these Breyer’s ice creams to ‘frozen dairy desserts.’  I’m scooping out some of what I thought was ice cream for my son last night and I notice the vanilla says ice cream on the carton and the butter pecan says ‘frozen dairy dessert.’  After yelling like a crazed health whack, reading the ingredient list, then yelling some more and finally reassuring my son that, “Yes, you can still eat this bowl of whatever-it-is that’s sitting in front of you,”  I resolved to do a little research today.  Here’s what I found and what Breyer’s is hiding from you!!!

The Breyers website has nutrition and ingredient information from April of 2010 when all of the flavors in the natural line (we won’t even talk about their version of super-chewy-brownie-fudge-oreo-sugar-chemical-soup-with-caramel now) were still called ice cream.  Very convenient.  The ingredients listed for the 2010 butter pecan ice cream on the Breyer’s website are: Milk, Cream, Sugar, Butter Pecans (Pecans, Butter, Cottonseed Oil, Salt), Whey, Natural Flavor, Natural Tara Gum, Salt.  10 ingredients if you don’t count salt twice, and I would argue that the natural flavor is suspicious… which natural flavor would that be?  This is a far cry from the Breyer’s ice cream which only had recognizable, could be found in your own kitchen, ingredients.  But wait!  It gets worse!  The ingredients on MY carton of 2012 Breyer’s Frozen Dairy Dessert are: milk, sugar, corn syrup, butter pecans (pecans, cottonseed oil, butter (cream, salt), salt), cream, whey, mono and diglycerides, salt, carob bean gum, guar gum, natural flavors, carrageenan, lactose enzyme, annato (for color), vitamin A palmitate, tara gum.  20 INGREDIENTS.  Did I mention CORN SYRUP.  I AM MOST UNHAPPY WITH YOU BREYERS!!

Upon further investigation I find that some of the 2010 flavors, like coffee, include caramel color which is REALLY bad – CSPI list of ‘food additives to avoid.

Shame on you Breyers.  And shame on me for not being more vigilant about reading labels before buying.  Apparently you can no longer assume that a company that built it’s reputation on all-natural ingredients continues in that vein.  We are going to purchase a Cuisinart ice cream maker and make ice cream from organic milk and other ingredients that are in my kitchen.  We can then add the following toppings for added zing…

crushed natural graham crackers (be sure to read the label) & slivered almonds
strawberries and banana or pineapple
crumbled homemade cookies or brownies
natural or homemade granola
a drizzle of maple syrup and walnuts
shredded coconut  – also a yummy addition if you toast it lightly in the oven or toaster oven

And yes, we will finish the ice cream and ‘frozen dairy dessert’ in the freezer.  I am a ‘health whack’ AND a cheapskate, so the former self will have to be satisfied with an alternate plan for the future in this case.  Enjoy the most natural ice cream you can find or afford, but don’t forget to read your labels because you never know what they are sneaking into the food these days!  Tell us what you add to your ice cream?