Back to the Changes in Breyer’s

Many of you saw my post following the unhappy discovery that my Breyer’s ‘ice cream’ was not actually ‘ice cream’ but was labelled as ‘Frozen Dairy Dessert.‘  I have been watching the freezer section and, oddly enough, which varieties are still labelled as ‘ice cream’ and which are ‘frozen dairy dessert’ varies not only by region but by time.  I have found both peach ice cream and peach frozen dairy dessert in the freezer at my Kroger on different recent occasions.  I check it out every now and then out of curiosity because we have received a huge reaction  (huge for our little blog that is) to that post.  Many people from all over the globe have found, read and posted their dismay over the addition of chemicals to the formerly ‘all-natural’ ice cream here on our blog.

Once I vented my anger on the blog I had planned to merely let my dollars do the talking to Unilever (the corporate parent of Breyer’s).  Your responses impel me to write to Unilever.  I thought I’d share the letter with you, our lovely readers!  Please feel free to add your responses on the matter to Unilever :

Dear Unilever,
I am extremely disappointed in the changes that have been made in the ingredient list of Breyer’s, the formerly all-natural ice cream.  Upon discovering that many Breyer’s flavors, even simple ones like peach, do not even qualify for the label ice cream, but are sometimes labelled as ‘frozen dairy dessert,’ I stopped purchasing your product.  I was a loyal Breyer’s customer, buying your product exclusively for many years because the labels lived up to your advertising campaigns boasting of natural and recognizable ingredients.  I stopped reading the labels of simple flavors because I
trusted your reputation.  Of course when you added flavors with cookies, I knew that those flavors did not meet your previous chemical-free standards, but I never bought those.  I bought and enjoyed vanilla, chocolate, coffee, cherry vanilla, and butter pecan knowing that although ice cream is an indulgence, at least I was offering a wholesome indulgence to my family.

I would have left my protest to your ingredient changes at the level of my dollars in the grocery store, but for the fact that I write a blog in which my sister and I explore feeding our families real, wholesome food.  I posted my dismay over the changes in the basic Breyer’s flavors and have been overwhelmed by the response.  I thought you might like to know that my little blog, in the vast sea of internet information, has drawn 186 views and 53 comments to our post, “Frozen Dairy Dessert, Really Breyer’s?”.  The comments all express dismay over your decision to include more chemicals and less real food in what used to be known as Breyer’s all-natural ice cream.

There is a market for your old ice cream!  Why not save a few simple flavors from chemical modernity.  I know lots of people who will buy it.  I don’t need caramel color, guar gum, tara gum, mono & di-glycerides, corn syrup, carageenan, or unidentified ‘natural flavors’ in my ice cream.  And I won’t buy yours as long as they are on your list of ingredients.

I am guessing that the folks who buy your flavor blast varieties won’t even notice if you take the chemicals out of your original flavors and convert the frozen dairy dessert back into ice cream.

Lisa Bromfield
“AKA Bigg Sis”

Little Sis and I are curious to know what you find in your grocery freezer.  Does your store carry Breyer’s ice cream?  Frozen Dairy Dessert?  Both?  Please check the simple flavors and let us know what you find.  Power to the People…. Right on!


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?