On National Ice Cream Day

15 Jul

Cue the elegy.

Today, on National Ice Cream Day, I say goodbye to what used to be my favorite go-to ice cream… Breyers vanilla ice cream.  When I should have been enjoying a bowl of a favorite frozen treat, I found myself lamenting the ingredients list.  I’m afraid that because we’ve been so busy trying out local ice cream brands that hit the market the last five to six years, I’ve only recently noticed the ingredient change with Breyers vanilla ice cream.  All that on a cold, gloomy Sunday summer morning.

On a positive note, I can make ice cream.

During my preteen years, I saw Breyers commercials boasting the natural ingredients that a Breyers ice cream contains.  This one was the cutest.  The one below summed up in four words (ingredients, that is) why Breyers vanilla ice cream was my ice cream sweetheart for years.  (Years!)

Don’t you just love how on the lid it says in all caps, “VANILLA ICE CREAM MADE WITH REAL VANILLA BEAN FLECKS”.  And look how it says “Natural Vanilla”.

Yet, on the ingredients list, vanilla isn’t listed.  What then could be the “flecks” that are found in the ice cream?  As for the “Natural Vanilla” part, I suppose when it comes to interpretation, “NATURAL FLAVOR” could be anything.  And it could also be “Natural Vanilla”.

The next commercial is a little older and as you can see, Breyers still pointed out then how their ice cream is better compared to the other guys.

At a time when the public is moving towards wholesome natural foods and products, UNILEVER decided to take Breyers ice cream the opposite direction.  So UNILEVER, I just want to say… wtf?!  Oh hold on, let me go with the all caps… WTF?!


3 Responses to “On National Ice Cream Day”

  1. Ryan 16, July 2012 at 4:21 pm #

    From http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfcfr/CFRSearch.cfm?fr=101.22 :

    “(a) … (3) The term natural flavor or natural flavoring means the essential oil, oleoresin, essence or extractive, protein hydrolysate, distillate, or any product of roasting, heating or enzymolysis, which contains the flavoring constituents derived from a spice, fruit or fruit juice, vegetable or vegetable juice, edible yeast, herb, bark, bud, root, leaf or similar plant material, meat, seafood, poultry, eggs, dairy products, or fermentation products thereof, whose significant function in food is flavoring rather than nutritional.”

    “(g) … (3) In cases where the flavor contains a solely natural flavor(s), the flavor shall be so labeled, e.g., “strawberry flavor”, “banana flavor”, or “natural strawberry flavor”. In cases where the flavor contains both a natural flavor and an artificial flavor, the flavor shall be so labeled, e.g., “natural and artificial strawberry flavor”. In cases where the flavor contains a solely artificial flavor(s), the flavor shall be so labeled, e.g., “artificial strawberry flavor”.”


    “(i) … (1) … (ii) … If none of the natural flavor used in the food is derived from the product whose flavor is simulated, the food in which the flavor is used shall be labeled either with the flavor of the product from which the flavor is derived or as “artificially flavored.””

    So, it seems that means the ice cream is still flavored with *some* ingredients derived from actual vanilla given it would otherwise need to be labeled as “vanilla flavored” or “artificial flavor”. However, “natural flavor” while still can cover actual vanilla flavors, by definition of “natural flavor” it can also even be beaver extract that happens to taste like vanilla– it’s still natural! =)

    From http://www.fsis.usda.gov/Help/FAQs_Flavorings/index.asp:

    “What substances or ingredients can be listed as “natural flavor,” “flavor,” or “flavorings” rather than by a specific common or usual name?
    Spices (e.g., black pepper, basil, and ginger), spice extracts, essential oils, oleoresins, onion powder, garlic powder, celery powder, onion juice, and garlic juice are all ingredients that may be declared on labeling as “natural flavor,” “flavor,” or “flavoring.” Spices, oleoresins, essential oils, and spice extracts are listed in the Food and Drug Administration regulations.”

    Why would a company *want* to list black pepper as a “natural flavor” rather than just “black pepper” which is a lot more trustworthy.

    • chroniccravings 16, July 2012 at 7:04 pm #

      Between actual vanilla and an extract/derivative, natural or otherwise, I would choose the actual vanilla.

    • chroniccravings 18, July 2012 at 2:07 pm #

      Thanks for the information and links on “natural flavors”. 🙂 It’s always a good thing to know what we’re eating.

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