Scoop 31: Breyers Natural Vanilla

by Ice Cream Maker Reviews on June 26, 2006

Theress nothing quite like ice cream to soothe a sore throat and tonsillitis. Who needs chicken noodle soup when you have Breyers Natural Vanilla? Continuing with the saga of super cheap Breyers ice cream on sale at Safeway, today I went for the natural stuff just milk, sugar, cream, and vanilla bean. It is this simplicity that lends the “natural” to Breyers Natural Vanilla. (Breyer’s Natural Vanilla now contains additives.  See discussion below). The vanilla flavor isn’t extremely strong, it’s more of a plain flavor (like when you buy plain instead of vanilla yogurt). It was still quite good, but there is something about the texture that makes it different from other vanilla ice cream. I think it’s maybe that they use skim milk. Like the Breyers Cookies and Cream, it’s just tastes a little watery. But overall, it’s a light tasting, not too vanillay, vanilla ice cream that I really enjoy.

  • Flavor: 4.5
  • Flavor Intensity: 3.5
  • Texture: 3.5
  • Originality: 1
  • Overall: 4
  • Cost: $1.79 on sale at Safeway

{ 3 trackbacks }

A Daily Scoop » Blog Archive » Breyers Ice Cream and Tara Gum
September 8, 2006 at 3:33 pm
A Daily Scoop » Blog Archive » Breyers Natural Ice Cream and Tara Gum: Unilever’s Response
September 11, 2006 at 8:35 am
A Daily Scoop: Ice Cream Reviews » Blog Archive » Breyers French Vanilla Ice Cream Review
November 10, 2006 at 8:58 am

{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

Simon July 3, 2006 at 6:51 am

A GREAT ice cream that I have eaten for many, many years; BUT: it is no longer that simple.
They now add TARA gum as a thickener. Probably will solve the occasional ‘ice-crystals’ with poor storage. No Safeway stores near me, but Breyer’s still worth the extra price

Allen August 5, 2006 at 12:47 pm

I purchased Breyers All Natural ice cream last night. It used to be my favorite.
The tara gum now makes it taste as if motor oil had been added to the ingredients before freezing. Now, Breyers is just as bad as all the rest. I have to make homemade ice cream if I want the creaminess to come from cream instead of some artifical ingredient.

Artemis August 6, 2006 at 4:44 pm

Breyer’s had always been my ice cream of choice, both for its taste and consistency and for its lack of additives. The addition of Tara Gum ended that. I have made a point of staying away from Guar Gum and Carageenan. I have found that those additives give me a bad feelings about the foods that contain them. I haven’t tried products with Tara Gum, and I don’t see any reason to do so.

I am fortunate to have a Harris Teeter grocery across the street – their competing product has only cream, milk, sugar and flavor – no additives, just like Breyer’s used to be.

Matt August 14, 2006 at 4:01 am

I stumbled across this page in a google search about this new double churned nonsense. I have always bought Breyer’s because it was natural. A couple months ago I was at the store and they were out of the regular mint n chip so I thought I’d try the double-churned this time. I too thought it was pretty gross, and then I read the ingredients. Instantly I knew something fishy was going on so I got on the web and found that Unilever had recently purchased Breyer’s. It was all starting to make sense. They must have invested millions in the PR over this product, because even the supposed ‘articles’ (non press releases) I read about this product were misleading. They claim to have achieved this marvelous product through a new process called double churning, adopted from Europe. This much I will not dispute. But in many of the articles I read, in the same context, the execs at Haagen Dazs are quoted as saying they were able to achieve less fat with the same natural ingredients.

Well, this may be true for Haagen Dazs, but it is clearly not true for Breyers. Because Breyer’s has always been marketed as a natural ice cream, I felt this was unfair manipulation by Unilever of their recently purchased branding. I complained the company and got my token B.S. form letter response and a coupon for free ice-cream, of course. But I am still irked, partly because this is just a microcosm of the way our whole system is working.

Blech, end of rant. 3 cheers for all you people I see here who are aware of the details of things in their environment.

Matt August 14, 2006 at 4:08 am

Oh one more thing I forgot to add. In addition to the guar gum, it now has “natural flavor.” In this case natural flavor is a protein that they found in a North Atlantic fish that helps prevent ice from forming. Only Unilever has been able to produce this protein in large quantities by using a genetically modified strain of yeast.

A Daily Scoop August 14, 2006 at 3:04 pm

I would like to point out that despite the additional ingredients the ice cream still gets icy. I was cleaning out my freezer last night and opened up the Breyers\’ chocolate from just over a month ago and found it to be covered in ice. I tasted it and it was terrible (and rubbery tasting). I will contact Unilever and see what I can find out.

Matt August 15, 2006 at 3:38 pm

I did not mean to imply that the protein prevents ice from forming on the ice cream once inside your refrigerator. It is intended to slow down the formation of ice crystals during the “double churning” process, which breaks up the fat into smaller particles and allows it to distribute more evenly throughout the ice cream, which is what results in the lower fat content.

In any case, it is deception. They ruined a good, simple, product for the purpose of raising their profit margin…although they are spinning it as a more healthy ice cream, because of the lower fat. Nonsense… read this study by the WHO on Tara Gum.

It is unfortunate that I have to do so much research just to figure out if the ice cream I am eating is healthy and whether or not I am being manipulated. I just want some normal simple ice cream argh.

A Daily Scoop August 16, 2006 at 1:57 pm

I think it was Simon (above) who mentioned that it might prevent the ice crystals from forming in the freezer.
I read the WHO report and also this report from the Food Standards Agency in Australia and New Zealand.
They approved the use of Tara Gum in foods. (I wouldn’t recommend reading this report past page 18 or 19 if you are an animal lover, some of the study involves testing on rats and dogs that some may rather not think/read about.)
The reports find several things that may cause concern: 1) Tara gum is not digestible by the human body’s digestive system 2) in the WHO report there were some issues with dogs who were lactating and had nursing puppies.
As I said before, the reports conclude that that Tara Gum is safe. It is a natural product that comes from the seeds of the tara tree (found in South America and Africa). But, if you want a truly natural product made only from milk/cream, sugar, eggs, and vanilla you may want to look elsewhere.
I am still trying to contact Unilever. When I called the phone line was “undergoing maintenance” and the media email address “is no longer active” (a returned email telling me to call the main number and not to email).
I will continue investigating this and write a complete posting when I have more information.

A Daily Scoop August 17, 2006 at 1:49 pm

I have heard back from someone in Unilever’s Media Office. They are working on finding the answers to my questions and told me that they will get back to me by next week. As I said before I will write a full story about this once I have all of the details.

Tom Sellers December 28, 2006 at 11:15 pm

We just finished a tub of Ben and Jerry’s which we discovered as a result of our disgust with the Breyer’s “Double Churned” that I was so incensed with. I am amazed that the executives that made the decision to save a few bucks could not fathom how bad it tasted (did they in fact try it?). In fact we should do a science experiment on them in order to prove that the greed mentality can overpower all senses as in “common sense” and “taste”. All I can say is that if they are a publicly traded stock I’m glad I don’t hold it. The new product was so disgusting I actually threw it out, thinking it was a bad batch. Brand loyalty had me buying a few more before I got over the fact I was indeed in denial and I had to face the facts and find a new brand.

Rick January 3, 2007 at 1:51 am

I was so angry about this corporate greed and the destruction of a once great ice cream that I created this website:

Perhaps Unilver will see that people are not satisfied with their cheap crap they’re trying to sell as improvement.

John March 11, 2007 at 12:20 pm

The corporate giant, Unilever, has been quietly shrinking the size of all their consumer products and substituting cheaper ingredients. (1.75qt ice cream, 15oz margerine, 30oz mayonnaise etc.) This is of course to boost their stock so a few rich bastards can get even richer. Want to get even? Buy someone else’s products–that’s what I do.

pkumlxaxqy June 21, 2007 at 5:35 pm

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Mike Murphy February 11, 2008 at 11:48 pm

GOOD NEWS!! Good bye Breyer’s “Natural” Vanilla, Hello Blue Bunny Premium all natural Vanilla Ice Cream. Ingredients: Milk, cream, sugar, skim milk, Grade A Nonfat dry milk, Egg Yolks, Natural Vanilla Extract and Vanilla Beans…period. No guar gum, carob bean gum, tara gum, carageenan, or any of those other nasty smoothing agents. The best mass produced vanilla ice cream on the market since the original Breyer’s Light Vanilla before they started mucking it up, and maybe better than that was (it’s hard to say, because they screwed it up years ago!) I used to HATE Blue Bunny Ice Cream, but they have come up with some pretty good ones lately. Even the ones that do have gums in them are better than anything Breyer’s makes now. St. Louis, MO.

Expert1 February 21, 2008 at 6:24 pm

I purchased some Breyer’s ice cream today. I hadn’t had it in years because I have been making my own but I just wanted some fast and so I broke down and bought it.

I was supposed to be French Vanilla. It was flavorless-truly it had NO flavor. Not even vanilla. It didn’t occur to me to check the ingredients-which was my own fault in the manufactured food world-should have checked it before I bought it.

It was positively the worst ice cream I have EVER put in my mouth! It has a horrible chemical after taste with a chalk like texture-what happened to the yummy vanilla bean? Where did the tara gum come from? I don’t put it in my ice cream. The Breyer’s was so nasty. The other family members tasted it and agreed. We could not eat it and just dumped it in the trash.

Not buying that manufactured, processed stuff anymore. It is not the sweet, creamy product it used to be. The only choices now are to switch to organic, made your own, or just pass on ice cream. But I will never, ever buy that nasty, tasteless “product” again. Shame on me, I should have read the ingredient list. Words cannot describe how horrible that ice cream was. Never again!

TheropodX April 16, 2008 at 9:03 pm

So sad. I just bought a box of Breyers Natural Vanilla and discovered it tastes awful. Looked at the ingredients and found they messed with the decades-old recipe. My grandfather delivered Breyers ice cream his entire life. Sad to think after all those years they actually abandoned the natural ingredients. I won’t buy it again.

Ken January 2, 2009 at 12:43 am

My favorites was Breyers cherry vanilla and butter almond. But in the last year or so has gone down the drain. Less Bing cherries and smaller pieces, B quality. Ice cream flavor is off as well as texture. It all started when they started adding air into it. People noticed but the flavor didn’t change much. Yet !
Not the same product it used to be. They have been changing the Quality thinking the public won’t notice. Now it tastes poor trying to cut corners more concerned with profit than product quality. Very Sad. Tastes like cheap crap now. They can fool some of the people but not me. Will not buy it any more. Big disappointment.
There not using the same extracts or fruits in the same quantities and quality – pure sugar cane I doubt it. Sweetness is off. Some people say it is too much other say not enough. Manufacturing not consistent. I say its just not pure sugar cane anymore. Doesn’t have that bright fresh taste anymore why I’m not sure. Tastes synthetic like milk added instead of pure cream and gum thickeners added to it to keep its texture creamy but tastes like crap. Tastes like putty now.

claire January 5, 2009 at 8:14 pm

Haagen Dazs is the answer folks–the vanilla is pure and strong just like a bottle of vanilla extract. All REAL ingredients to include vanilla in Haagen Dazs…gotta watch all these “natural” references. Breyers Vanilla lists all the ingredients and then says “natural flavors” not VANILLA which makes me think they are now using vanillin–a flavoring, not real vanilla. I think a class action suit against Breyers should be filed as they are misrepresenting their product…it can’t be called vanilla if it doesn’t contain VANILLA, it has to say “Vanilla flavored.” Bet you Unilever is lying about the ingredients until they are forced to fess up…in the meantime, their loyal consumers are none the wiser, unless they have good taste buds or read the box now and then. If you want Unilever to make Breyers the way it used to be made, stop buying the inferior product. Money talks.

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Ben January 21, 2010 at 4:11 pm

I agree with the above. Breyers Natural Vanilla icecream now tastes completely disgusting and not like real ice cream at all. Avoid it like the plague. I too had to through half of the carton out.

Bad Humor November 8, 2010 at 2:19 pm

For those that defend “all natural”…it has nothing to do with “natural”. Mud is natural, cow dung is natural, tara gum is natural, carageenan is natural. Doesnt mean you add it to ice cream, idiots. Natural is no magic “pass” for an ingredient improving ice cream.

Straight up: stabilizers turn an otherwise good ice cream product into a gummy, stretchy, yellowing, rubbery mess…with the bogus claim on the label that it “adds creaminess”. We are not fooled.
I know the difference between creaminess, and stretchy, stringy rubbery mush that doesnt fracture cleanly.
Breyers BUILT a worldwide reputation on NO stabilizers- in the days when transportation and refrigeration were a SHADOW of todays modern technology. Haagen Dazs is a world famous product, mostly having NO “natural” stabilizers, thank you very much.
Turkey Hill all natural Philadelphia Style has NO “natural” gum stabilizers – and has triumphantly brought back the clean homemade quality that the suits & actuatries at Unilever KILLED in Breyers (and now, Ben & Jerrys).
So dont tell me manufacturers “need stabilizers” to prevent phase changing & texture “complaints” to market a product today. BS.
Tell it to the QUALITY-conscious vendors that are DOING a REAL ice cream formula.

D Jones January 15, 2011 at 7:19 pm

I share the disappointment everyone has expressed, and feel some sadness at how Unilever has disrespected the Breyer’s product, though it is their right.

The good news is Turkey Hill’s Philadelphia Style ice cream. It is fabulous – made with the short list (no gum) of all natural, traditional ice cream ingredients. The Philadelphia Style line is in the black cartons, not the yellow ones.

I also agree with the previous comments that 1) Blue Bunny is delicious also, even the ones with non-traditional ingredients, and 2) Haagen-Dazs is outstanding (but too expensive for me).

If I can get Turkey Hill’s Philadelphia Style or Blue Bunny, I am at least as happy as with the original Breyer’s.

ice cream expert March 15, 2011 at 2:17 pm

Just bought and will never buy again… Blue Bunny ice cream. This ice cream is pure crap. It’s vanilla but has zero vanilla taste. I bought it because it was under $2 for 1.75Q. I will return unused portion today. Should have known by ingredients(artificial flavor comes before vanilla and its cheap vanilla extract). breyers vanilla, turkey hill(philly style) and hagen daz are my favorites. Do not waste your money on Blue Bunny.

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