Unilever Rides Again w/ Breyers Frozen Dairy Dessert née Ice Cream

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David_NYC
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2013/04/30 18:44:40 (permalink)

Unilever Rides Again w/ Breyers Frozen Dairy Dessert née Ice Cream

The other night I had a jones for Butter Pecan ice cream. With welfare-state pricing of mass market ice creams at supermarkets these days, I buy the brand on sale. Breyers was on sale. So I grab a 1 1/2 quart (shrunk from half gallon) container of Breyers. I note that a lot of the fine print on the container is now over a photograph, rather than over a solid color background. So I get suspicious. Can't find the words Ice Cream. Uh-oh. But I do spot the words Frozen Dairy Dessert. Unilever strikes again.
 
For years, Breyers brought out a bewildering array of ice creams to appeal to the weight watchers. Low Fat, No Fat, CarbSmart, etc. Maybe even Ice Milk back in the day. But except for some flavors with no solid mix-ins, such as natural vanilla and coffee, the Breyers classic flavor containers now read Frozen Dairy Dessert instead of Ice Cream. Unless you go to Unilever's Ben & Jerry brand, you can't buy full-strength Butter Pecan ice cream from them anymore in a supermarket (haven't checked out their foodservice range yet, however). Hark back to the days before Haagen Daz when cheap ice cream was made with muck such as butterfat that left the roof of your mouth greasy. They obviously are doing this to reduce the cost of producing the product. And they hope people will not notice by placing labels over a photograph to make it hard to read.
 
Growing up, most of the mom-and-pop candy stores/soda fountains near our house used Breyers Ice Cream. The hand-dipped cones were wonderful on a hot summers day before we got air conditioning. I consider it offensive they cheapened the product to the extent federal labeling laws won't let them call it ice cream anymore.
 
I haven't caught any other majors pulling this stunt with 1 1/2 quart containers of ice cream. I wound up buying Turkey Hill. But I wonder if this will force other mass market brands to also remove the cream, similar to how Nestle's Dreyers/Edys ended the half gallon of ice cream and shrunk the size to the present 1 1/2 quarts. Most other makers followed suit.
 
 
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    ces1948
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    Re:Unilever Rides Again w/ Breyers Frozen Dairy Dessert née Ice Cream 2013/04/30 20:59:16 (permalink)
    We bought a carton of Breyers (on sale) which did say ice cream on the carton. The flavor was "natural strawberry" and I have to say it was one of the most blandest tasteless things I've had in a long time. Interesting though it was 110 calories per 1/2 cup compared to 270 calories a 1/2 cup for haagen dazs. But it was so tasteless I couldn't eat it.
    #2
    chefbuba
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    Re:Unilever Rides Again w/ Breyers Frozen Dairy Dessert née Ice Cream 2013/04/30 23:45:59 (permalink)
    Breyers is terrible, full of air!
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    kathy_in_wlsv
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    Re:Unilever Rides Again w/ Breyers Frozen Dairy Dessert née Ice Cream 2013/05/02 12:27:38 (permalink)
    The few times we've bought Breyers everyone complains that it has a gritty feel.  We prefer Perry's (on sale) or the Tops or Wegman's house brands.
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    Root-Beer Man
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    Re:Unilever Rides Again w/ Breyers Frozen Dairy Dessert née Ice Cream 2013/05/02 16:52:47 (permalink)
    I'll stick with Graeter's or Ben and Jerry's. Breyers lost me many years ago with their air filled, flavourless "ice cream". I don't even bother to look at their offerings these days.
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    The Travelin Man
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    Re:Unilever Rides Again w/ Breyers Frozen Dairy Dessert née Ice Cream 2013/05/03 15:58:37 (permalink)
    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/17/dining/remembering-when-breyers-ice-cream-was-you-know-ice-cream.html?_r=0
     
    But what about the ingredients? “They’re basically the same ingredients,” Mr. Soukas said. “It’s not so much about the ingredients as the way they’re put together.”
     
    Breyers natural vanilla ice cream: milk, cream, sugar, tara gum, natural flavor. Period.
    Breyers extra-creamy vanilla frozen dairy dessert: milk, sugar, corn syrup, cream, whey, mono and diglycerides, carob bean gum, guar gum, carrageenan, natural flavor, annatto (for color), vitamin A palmitate, tara gum.
     
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    David_NYC
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    Re:Unilever Rides Again w/ Breyers Frozen Dairy Dessert née Ice Cream 2013/05/03 23:58:40 (permalink)
    Wow. 465 comments to that NY Times article, which I somehow missed. I didn't realize Breyer's had at one time a manufacturing presence in NYC. I used to see a Breyers sign on the roof of a building at 34-09 Queens Blvd in Long Island City. I thought it was just an advertising sign. Turns out it was also a manufacturing plant.
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    Mosca
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    Re:Unilever Rides Again w/ Breyers Frozen Dairy Dessert née Ice Cream 2013/05/08 23:08:04 (permalink)
    Hey, like the article says: Back in the day, that was some really good stuff. A bit over-sweet, but nevertheless, the real deal; the sweetness was more part of a choice than it was a flaw. Everything else about Breyer's was spot-on, and their chocolate was really excellent.
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    ijbigio
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    Re:Unilever Rides Again w/ Breyers Frozen Dairy Dessert née Ice Cream 2013/09/26 14:40:36 (permalink)
    Until a few years ago, Breyers was the highest quality ice cream in the US that was broadly available in supermarkets for a fair price.  The company originated in Philadelphia, and was, for a long time, predominantly sold in the Northeast - very popular in NYC.  The local distribution until ~20 years ago was a consequence of cost limitation, because the product had to be kept frozen from factory to consumer.  Truly "natural" ice cream - made from ingredients your grandmother would recognize - will crystalize if it thaws and is refrozen.  This is why all mass producers of ice cream today add emulsifiers/stabilizers.  Hagen Daaz uses egg yolk, which works but is more expensive, justifying the cost. It is the only quality ice cream that is broadly available, but is very rich.  (Read the ingredient list of Ben & Jerrys if you still think they make a premium product.)
     
    When Unilever bought Breyers, they added the tara gum.  They claim that their customers prefer the "creamier consistency," but it was really so they could lower the shipping cost, and reduce the amount of dairy cream.  Real ice cream should melt to a liquid in your mouth, not soften to a gummy foam.  Lovers of homemade ice cream don't mind a few crystals in the texture - it still tastes so much better.  Nowadays, if you want real ice cream, you can wait for Hagen Daaz to go on sale, make it yourself in your kitchen (with truly natural ingredients), or go to the "Little Italy" neighborhood of a large city, and find a place that still prides itself in selling real gelato.
     
    BTW, don't be fooled by the many shops that sell "homemade" ice cream in tourist-trap areas (e.g., Martha's Vineyard).  They often buy the ice cream base (with all the emulsifiers and stabilizers) in bulk from large dairy factories, add some frozen strawberries or other processed ingredient, and churn/freeze it on the premises. 
     
    Unilever cheapens many of the products of the companies they buy.  A year or two ago they bought the company than makes Q-tips.  Guess what?  Q-tips now have much less cotton on the tips, and are not nearly as soft as they used to be - so be careful when poking them in delicate places!
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