Taste Test: Breyers Natural Vanilla Bean with and without Tara Gum

by Ice Cream Maker Reviews on October 16, 2006

Now that the tara gum and other additive controversy has taken hold, I have made a point to check labels when at the supermarket. Not long ago I was at Whole Foods and noticed that their Breyers Natural Vanilla didn’t have tara gum in it. I immediately purchased it. At home I compared it to the Breyers Natural Vanilla I already had in my freezer (with tara gum). The containers look virtually identical (though not quite). However, the expiration date on the more recently purchased ice cream (without tara gum) was 6 months earlier than the date for the container with tara gum. This lead me to conclude that either a) the ice cream I had gotten without tara gum was made before the ice cream with tara gum and had just been distributed later b) the ice cream without tara gum goes bad more quickly than that without and/or c) Whole Foods can still get the ice cream without the tara gum. Quite frankly, I have no idea what the answer is. I can, however, tell you the difference in taste as I tasted them side by side (in a blind taste test so I didn’t initially know which was which).

Breyers with tara gum tastes different than that without. No question. It is creamier, but not it a good way. It has an artificial texture to it. You know when you’re eating the inside of an Oreo or Twinkie and you just know it isn’t natural, it’s got a lard-ish texture, creamy, but in a sticky way. That’s what it feels like– a little sticky. It also tastes slightly less intensely vanilla. I’m not sure if that is because of the tara gum or a new freezing method. Breyers Natural Vanilla with tara gum doesn’t taste like Breyers Natural Vanilla anymore. It reminds me more of the yellow-colored artificial vanilla ice creams. It’s not nearly as bad as those, but it’s not very good. Unilever needs to bring back Breyers Natural Vanilla Bean without tara gum.

From now on I am going to start buying Turkey Hill Vanilla Bean. I don’t know how extensive their distribution is in DC I have only found it at Shoppers. But, it doesn’t have tara gum and tastes much better than the new Breyers. Actually, my top choice for vanilla would be Haagen Dazs Vanilla Bean. Unfortunately, that has too many calories for a daily scoop. What other gum-free vanilla ice cream brands have you found that you would recommend?

The ice cream container on top contains tara gum, the one pictured below it does not.

Two Breyers Natural Vanilla Ice Cream Review Breyers Ice Cream with Tara GumBreyers Ice Cream without tara gum

{ 58 comments… read them below or add one }

Ellen January 21, 2010 at 10:44 pm

For months I thought I was crazy, too picky, it’s something spoiling it in the freezer. Well, I finally motivated to get to the source of this problem…what is ruining my Breyer’s Natural Vanilla that I’ve loved for years? Tonight I find Tara gum, and the fact that Breyer’s sold out to Unilever back in 1993…I’d have to think…is that when the containers got smaller? and this flavor change, that was the last straw. Thanks to this site I’m going to track down Turkey Hill. Wow, after decades with Breyer’s this is really sad.

Kristina April 24, 2010 at 6:25 pm

I thought something happened to my beloved ice cream!! It had a weird cheap-type of texture to it. I couldn’t put my finger on it and sure enough there is tara gum in it! Remember when they used to brag about the ingredients in their ice cream and tell you to read the label!? Notice you haven’t been hearing that little slogan for awhile now. Anyhow, last I checked Turkey Hill had HFCS in it…guess I’ll be sticking to homemade for awhile now. I’m going to call and complain. The main thing I’ve noticed it that it doesn’t melt and get all creamy anymore. It doesn’t soften like it used to. Now it stays hard even 15 minutes out of the freezer.

Marie Ziniti May 10, 2010 at 8:29 pm

I agree. Breyers Vanilla Bean is awful. I, too, thought something had one wrong with it, but I boughtseveral withthe same results. It has an undertaste. Turkey Hill is the best I’ve tried. I won’t but Breyers again.

Ed Roeloffs September 28, 2010 at 4:55 pm

I always loved Breyer’s ice creams, with their FOUR ingredients, and I rejected all other brands. Lately, I bought some vanilla, and there was something wrong. It didn’t freeze hard, didn’t melt easily, didn’t melt in my mouth as it should, and it was disgustingly sticky. In short it’s disgusting. Checking the ingredients, I could see why—-gum, like all the other crappy products that are called ice cream. I will have to try out other brands, but I am not hopeful that there is anything on the market as the original Breyer’s.

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 7:30 pm

>Kristina: “Anyhow, last I checked Turkey Hill had HFCS in it…”

Kristina, look for the Turkey Hill Philadelphia Style ice cream in the black carton. It has no HFCS, no gum, just the natural, traditional ice cream ingredients. Trust me, you will not be disappointed.

jr March 14, 2011 at 12:27 am

I’m so sick of what Unilever did to the Breyers line in the mid to late 2000s. I know Good Humor/Unilever has owned Breyers since ’93 but the recipe really didn’t change for another decade plus. I was a fan of the old Breyers Natural Vanilla (and their Chocolate) . Today there are two brands of vanilla that have allowed me to forget about Breyers.
1) Blue Bunny – All Natural Vanilla
2) Turkey Hill – Vanilla Bean Philadelphia Style Ice Cream

sandra dilley September 24, 2014 at 10:09 pm

I agree…the Breyer’s natural vanilla with tara gum is does not compare to the flavor/texture of Breyer’s without tara gum. I will not buy it. Without tara gum, it tastes like real homemade ice cream.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: