Does Any Company Still Make All-Natural Ice Cream without Gums or Stabilizers?

haagen dazs five chocolate natural ice cream

Haagen Dazs Five (only 5-ingredients) All Natural Ice Cream

While ice cream brands like Breyers and Ben & Jerry’s (both owned by Unilever) have gone to the dark side, Häagen-Dazs has a new line called “Five” with only five natural ingredients. As it should be. They offer Lemon, Coffee, Vanilla Bean and Milk Chocolate. We read the ingredient lists of  each of these flavors and they don’t contain anything we wouldn’t use at home, but perhaps we should question Alkali processed Cocoa (and many other products) as being natural, since natural processed Cocoa is available.

The Strause Family Creamery in the San Francisco, Ca. area also still makes a variety of ice cream flavors that are All-Natural and do not contain gums or stabilizers for those lucky few that live within there small area of influence. Some others all-natural brands that our visitors have mentioned in the comments include Three Twins Ice Cream, All-Natural Turkey Hill Ice Cream and Harris Teeter Natural Ice Cream.

Even Premium Brands like Turkey Hill, Blue Bunny and Alden’s Organic Ice Cream include locust bean gum and/or guar gum. No thanks.

What’s the Big Deal about All- Natural Anyway?

It seems a little funny to discuss eating ice cream and health in the same sentence, but if there is a choice, we will chose natural ingredients everytime over artificial or industrially processed ingredients, especially if it tastes better anyway. It also goes along with a philosophy of trying to know where your food comes from and when possible, choosing foods that are grown closer to home. How can carrageenan and most gum products fit into that philosophy when these products have to be shipped half-way around the world?

The World Powers of Ice Cream Production

Western Europe spends about $21.5 Billion and the U.S. spends $16 Billion on frozen desserts each year. Who would have thought that anyone, anywhere could out eat the U.S. in ice cream?  Maybe they out spend, but not out eat. Yeah, that’s the ticket. The Swiss giant Nestle Global and UK/US Unilever Group each controlled about 17% of the World frozen dessert market. Wells Enterprises Inc (formerly Wells Dairy;U.S.) is the third largest player and controls 5% of the world market.

Nestle owns Dreyer’s/Edy’s Grand Ice Cream and Dreyers acquired Snelgrove Ice Cream. Häagen-Dazs is actually owned by General Mills, but is licensed to Nestle in the U.S.

Unilever owns ice cream brands such as Breyers, Ben and Jerry’s, Walls, Magnum, Good Humor, Cornetto, Carte d’Or Light, Solaro, Algida, Langnese, and Inmarko.

Wells Enterprises Inc. owns Blue Bunny Ice Cream.

Thickening, Stabilizing and Emulsifying Agents Added to Industrially Produced Ice Cream

I don’t know (and don’t want to know) where to buy industrially processed food products like Tara gum, Carrageenan or Mono & Diglycerides or how much they cost, but if the nice Breyer’s customer service lady tells me the addition of these products is for cost saving purposes, I will believe her. So these products cost less to add to ice cream than milk and cream.  But they are also deliberately added to change the properties of the ice cream.

  • Carob or Locust Bean Gum (Ceratonia siliqua)- added as a thickening or gelling agent for food technology. It is produced mainly in Mediterranean countries. The gum is processed with acids and sodium borate. The carob/locust bean powder tastes similar to cocoa powder, so that explains why carob tastes similar to chocolate.
  • Guar Gum or cluster bean (Cyamopsis tetragonoloba)- also a thickening agent, and has 8 times as much thickening power as corn starch.. 60% of the Guar gum is exported from Pakistan and India. Guar is a Nitrogen fixing legume.  It was once used as a non-prescription dieting aid because it caused the stomach to swell when it bound with water making people feel full. It was banned by FDA as a diet aid.
  • Tara Gum (Caesalpinia pectinata)- provides freeze-thaw stability in ice cream by preventing the formation of ice crystals in ice creams – Tara is a native tree of Peru and other South American Countries and is produced from by mechanical threshing, roasting, sieving and drying.
  • Carrageenan (Chondrus sp)is added to ice cream as a thickener and as a stabilizer. It is refined from sea weed, mostly from the Philippines. Carrageenan is processed by boiling or soaking seaweed in alkali (similar process used for Dutch processed cocoa). The dissolved carrageenan is leached into a solution, filtered, then coagulated in alcohol before drying.
  • Annatto color is added simply for color. It comes from the Achiote tree (Bixa orellana) grown in tropical Central & South America. The color comes from the outer layers of the seeds and is process by mechanical abrasion in an aqueous alkaline hydrolysis process that isolates bixin, which is a carotenoid.
  • Mono & Diglycerides are added to ice cream as emulsifiers and stabilizes which helps to mixing ingredients like oil and water and keeps them from separating over time. They can be processed from animal or plant fats triglycerides (partially hydrogenated) or can be synthetically produced from fatty acids and glycerol. They work as an emulsifier due to their unique chemistry which allows one end of the molecule to be soluble in water and the other end to be soluble in fat. Both Mono and Diglycerides are made by heating natural oils. Glycerin (or glycerol) are by products of making soap and bio-diesel (split off from fat molecules). Mono & Diglycerides are classified as emulsifiers rather than lipids, so they do not have to be listed as fat and may actually contain trans fats.

Are Thickening, Stabilizing and Emulsifying Agents Bad for You?

Not according to the USDA, in fact they are currently considered to be Natural by the USDA and these products can be also certified as Organic. All of these products also have GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe) status from the FDA.

Though classified as GRAS by the FDA, there has been much chatter about possible health issues from consuming Mono & Diglycerides since they are similar molecules to trans or hydrogenated fats since there are no open bonds in the molecules. Some argue that these molecules are only produced in labs and are not found in nature. It is true, that they are not found as free molecules in nature, but the human body actually produces both Mono & Diglycerides during the catabolic metabolism of fats. These molecules are further broken down into Glycerin (glycerol) and 3 fatty acids before being broken down completely to extract the energy from the molecules.

What a Gum Manufacturer Says about Adding Gums to Processed Foods

At Gumtech.com, they say “gums are good”, and that gum technology stabilizers are extremely cost efficient and “Adding gums to ice cream is no different than adding starch to a pudding.” They also state that gums are used at very low levels of less than 1% and usually even lower at about 0.1%. They also point out that gums do not mask flavors like starches and gelatins, so they are cheaper to use since less flavor needs to be added. Gums have fiber and add very few if any calories when used is these small quantities. Most gums are all natural and can be certified Kosher and organic and are gluten free. Gums do everything from adding cling, fiber and mouth feel, to reducing calories, replacing fat, stabilizing emulsions and for thickening.

cat won't eat breyers ice cream with tara gum

Even our cat has turned her back on Breyer’s Ice Cream. She refuses to lick the bowl. That told us something.

I woke up this morning with a craving for Locust Bean, Guar and Tara Gum And I would like that with a side of Carrageenan. OK, fine. So according to the all knowing FDA, gums are good and safe. Remember, this is the same FDA that approved Vioxx and Fen-Phen but assumes no liability themselves. Truth is, we are not overly concerned with potential health effects of these ice cream additives. We are concerned about taste and mouth feel and simply prefer to have our ice cream without gums and stabilizers. We would like to know why the cat rejects the new Breyers Butter Pecan Frozen Dairy Dessert, when she used to beg for the old Butter Pecan Ice Cream. We will follow her suggestion and stay away from it ourselves. FYI, we found this link useful to find out where your milk comes from.

Update: The FDA has always said that emulsifiers used in food are safe, but not according to a recent study by the by Georgia State University Institute for Biomedical Sciences’ published in Nature:

Here we report that, in mice, relatively low concentrations of two commonly used emulsifiers, namely carboxymethylcellulose and polysorbate-80, induced low-grade inflammation and obesity/metabolic syndrome in wild-type hosts and promoted robust colitis in mice predisposed to this disorder.

Have IBD? Colitis? Or have general gastritis symptoms after eating products with emulsifiers (which many people who have commented on this post as well as this one have noted)? Then you definitely may want to reconsider eating those foods again.

I want to thank Breyer’s for all the years that we were able to consume their great ice cream. I want to thank Unilever for shaking us free of  our ignorant and lazy bliss. We will go back to making homemade ice cream as we should have anyway. We will use only Milk, Cream, Sugar and natural fruits and nuts. We usually consume the small batches we make anyway, so it never has a chance to get icy. If it did get a little icy, who cares? It will still be better than any ice cream you can buy anywhere. And neither the FDA, the USDA or Unilever can stop us.

In Conclusion, Why Not Make Your Own Ice Cream?! 🙂 Last year we purchased an automatic ice cream maker and here is our review – we love it!

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Comments

  1. The best ice cream I’ve ever tasted is Three Twins. No stabilizers, gums, etc… My favorites are Sea Salted Caramel and Madagascar Vanilla; yummy! Not sure if you consider Tapioca Syrup an additive.

    Theses are the ingredients for Sea Salted Caramel: Organic milk, organic cream, organic evaporated cane juice, caramel (organic sugar, organic cream, organic non fat milk, organic tapioca syrup, organic caramelized sugar, sea salt), organic egg yolks, organic non fat milk, organic vanilla extract.
    http://shop.threetwinsicecream.com

    • We were just at Whole Foods the other day looking at ice cream labels and discovered Three Twins was one of the few completely all-natural ice creams. Tapioca syrup is made from cassava through a natural enzymatic process, so I don’t mind it as an ingredient. A good addition to the all-natural ice cream category.

    • Turkey hill has an all natural line without additives and it’s flavor and texture is much like the ice creams of my childhood. Much preferred. Very disappointed with the direction of Bryers or as I should say Unilever.

      • Walter Abbott says:

        I totally agree and also switched to Turkey Hill and seeing Tara Gum added to Breyer’s. I also suffer from severe gastritis usually after eating different dairy products which I suspect include these gums and emulsifiers.
        I don’t see how Breyers can call their ice cream all natural as it is not REAL ice cream with gum added.

  2. Just had a teaspoon of Edy’s “Grand”, coffee flavor. Full of gums, confirmed on the label. Strongly flavored of coffee (flavoring?) but not grand by a long shot. Won’t buy again. 7/12/13

    • You’ll be surprised and then annoyed when you start reading food labels, discovering how much junk is added to packaged foods. And yes, Edy’s Grand Ice Cream is not so grand after all.

    • Ice Cream Queen says:

      Trader Joe’s has the BEST coffee ice cream. Try it — I guarantee you won’t be disappointed!

      • Trader Joe’s Coffee Bean Blast Super Premium Ice Cream Ingredients: Cream, milk, sugar, egg yolks, coffee, espresso beans, cocoa (processed with alkali), coffee extract, carob bean gum, guar gum.

        Better than most ice cream ingredient lists, but I would like it more without the carob bean and guar gums.

  3. Christina says:

    I completely agree. I don’t think the gums are healthy, even if they are less fatty. The taste, texture, and flavor is also affected. I remember really enjoying Breyers. I never bought Edy’s. Now, Breyers tastes like Edys. What happened to American pride in a high quality product from the early 1900s?

    • I bought Breyers because I thought they were all natural but that definition is ambiguous. They have high fructose corn syrup in it instead of sugar.

      • Breyer’s still has natural flavors, maybe in vanilla and strawberry. Those don’t have high fructose syrup but do have the tara gum. I liked it better when it was ALL natural!

  4. I love Strauss Ice Cream. No stabilizers or gums, totally natural. My favorite is Caramel Toffee Crunch – yum!

  5. HÄAGEN-DAZS is about the only brand I buy anymore. Breyers used to be the best. I remember trying other brands that were maybe on sale for the week and just ended up throwing them away. Brands like Edy’s and Blue Bell. They were just too soft. Too “creamy.” I kept buying Breyers then it started to dawn on me that it too was soft. I thought for awhile my freezer wasn’t operating properly anymore, and contributed the softness to just being not frozen at a proper low enough temp. So when I learned all these unusual abnormalities was due to the new ingredients (gums, etc…) Breyers was using, I was terribly disappointed. I grew up on the stuff. It was one of the great little pleasures of life. Such a shame.

    • Tim- I know exactly what you mean by too “creamy”. When we called Breyers to complain, they said that they changed the recipe to make it more “creamy” because that’s what so-called taste-tasters preferred. I want real cream to make it creamy not guar gum!

  6. Locust Bean Gum

    Organic Locust Bean Gum is roasted and milled. It a very natural ingredient that if milled requires NO sodium borate. It is NOT used as a thickening agent, it’s used to stop ice crystal growth. What happens is there is water in your custard mix you create, the Locust Bean Gum takes that water droplets and makes them even smaller, then when you freeze the mix the ice crystals are tiny that gives a creamy smooth texture that also keeps better too.

    • Joe – I want cream to make my ice cream creamy, not locust bean gum. I doubt Breyers or similar big ice cream brands are using Organic locust bean gum either. If they are putting it in there to make it taste creamier, it is because they are using less quality ingredients and locust bean is a cheap way to make up for it.

      One of the creamiest ice creams from the store I have had is from Häagen-Dazs and there is not one speck of locust bean gum in it.

      And that “creaminess” that locust bean provides is what everyone is complaining about. It just doesn’t feel right. It tastes fake. Whether it be a thickener, stabilizer, emulsifier or creamy-taste maker – I prefer it not to be in my ice cream, IMHO.

      • David Smothers says:

        And here is my problem. I tried Hagen Dazs, and although there are no gums, I didn’t like it, either… because of the insanely high butterfat content. It’s like Paula Deen made ice cream, and just put sugar, vanilla, and a stick a butter in the freezer. Original Breyer’s was so perfect, a little icy just like homemade, and it wasn’t so high in butterfat, so it tasted clean and refreshing, not heavy and rich, like Hagen Dazs. The gums don’t provide “creaminess”, they provide “snotty” texture. I don’t think anyone at all complained about Breyer’s, it was just an excuse to cheapen it up. And why? Now it’s like Walmart brand ice cream, except it costs a dollar more.

  7. GuarGum says:

    DON’T EAT ICE CREAM WITH GUAR GUM. Most people’s stomachs can’t process it. It sticks in the stomach and make you feel nauseated and bloated the next couple of days.

    • Guess what? Your body can’t process insoluable fiber yet it is a good thing to eat so that your bowels stay regular.

      That and I have found zero unbiased studies saying that it ‘sticks’ in the stomach.

      • Guar gum is a soluble fiber. I’m not sure what the above comment meant by “sticks in the stomach”, but studies have shown that it can cause gastrointestinal side effects, especially those with sensitive digestive systems. For those who have IBS or SIBO gut issues especially, it is advised to avoid consuming guar gum.

        • I totally agree that guar gum is to be avoided. I bought “Natural Vanilla” Breyers even thought I saw the label change and the words guar gum and “natural flavors” (means they are not). I ate a big bowl and was promptly in the bathroom for the next 20 minutes! the carton went in the garbage and so did Breyers reputation. Its all junk ice cream now. I will never buy Breyers again.

  8. I made pretty good ice cream at home with milk, cream, sugar, and eggs. It wasn’t as good as the best ice creams I’ve had, so I ended up studying with a Michelin 3-star pastry chef to learn his secrets. He and all the other top chefs use stabilizers, non-fat dry milk, and multiple sugars including dextrose and trimoline. And guess what? It make the ice cream better. I could go on for pages about why, but I can now make ice cream with flavors and textures that match the best I’ve ever had. I can’t do it with the ingredients in grandma’s pantry.

    Articles like this rub me the wrong way because they because they spread prejudices that don’t make any sense. Ingredients like carrageenan and locust bean gum and agar have been used in cooking for over 500 years, all around the world. Xanthan gum is a product of fermentation; it’s every bit as natural as yeast bread or vinegar. Dextrose and invert syrups exist naturally in fruits and honey.

    If you don’t acknowledge this, you’re ripe for manipulation by big companies. The reason there are no gums in Haagen Dazs is that they molecularly alter milk proteins to act like stabilizers. This is more high-tech and less natural than just using a gum, but it helps sell ice cream to an ignorant public.

    I don’t have a problem with the way haagen dazs is made, but I don’t like the dishonesty behind it. And I don’t like the ignorance behind articles like this one.

    • Paul – If stabilizers are so great, than how do you explain all the comments on this page by people who loved the old Breyers that contained only milk, cream and sugar? I know of people who have had custard-based ice cream made with eggs, but prefer the clean mouth feel of an ice cream that lacks any stabilizers, including eggs.
      I’m happy for you that you studied with a Michelin 3-star pastry chef that uses stabilizers. To you, the ice cream tastes better. To me, not so.
      And let’s be honest. Today’s stabilizers, such as carrageenan, are not made like they were 500 years ago. Egg yolks are fine. However, any of these processed stabilizers are not to me, for multiple reasons.
      And it’s funny that the only place I can verify your accusation of Haagen Dazs “molecularly altering milk proteins to act like stabilizers” is on other blogs where the comment is from you. You said you heard it from Jerry himself (from Ben & Jerry’s). I need a little more proof than hearsay that comes from a direct competitor. And isn’t it funny that Ben & Jerry’s is now owned by Unilever. Like Breyers, they also changed Ben & Jerry’s recipes by adding more of those great stablizers, like carrageenan and guar gum. Must be because they wanted to make a better ice cream, right? Not! It’s because of their bottom line. It’s cheaper.
      If I’m ignorant, then let me wallow in my bliss of milk, cream and sugar.

      • You’re saying you prefer the old Breyer’s to ice cream made by Michelin 3-star pastry chefs, but I can’t help wondering if you say this out of prejudice rather than experience. Have you had the ice cream at Le Bernardin?

        I liked the old Breyer’s also. I liked it because it was light and fluffy and not filling and it tasted pretty good. It was not great ice cream, but it was good … especially if I wasn’t in the mood for something as filling as Ben & Jerries.

        It’s not as good as what a good pastry chef makes. It’s not as good as what I make. It couldn’t be … it would have been too expensive for a mass market product.

        As far as altering the milk proteins to provide stabilization, it’s what every manufacturer does when you don’t see stabilizers on the ingredients. It’s not necessarily what every pastry chef does, but it’s the case for every product that gets distributed and shipped to stores. Unstabilized, egg-free ice cream has an icy texture and it degenerates within a couple of days. It’s just not a viable product.

        I’ve confirmed the milk-protein alteration with a scientist who lectures on ice cream and who consults with the industry. I didn’t bring this up as an accusation. It’s not an insidious practice, but it is indeed done for marketing reasons, and it tends to promote the kind of misinformation you’re spreading here.

        I just made a batch of ice cream with locally sourced organic milk and cream, grade-a madagascar vanilla beans, eggs from the farmer’s market, and … xanthan gum, guar gum, and carrageenan. I didn’t add those gums because it’s cheaper. It would only be cheaper if I used them to compensate for something lacking. But I used them to make a very high quality ice cream even better.

        In a blind test, I would bet anything you would agree. Because smoother, creamier, less icy texture, and more vibrant fresh milk and vanilla flavor tends to taste better to people. These ingredients let me push things farther in that direction.

        • Paul R, you are absolutely correct about the use of gums and stabilizers in commercial ice creams as well as non-dairy and/or egg free frozen desserts. While I make no claims of 3-star notoriety, I am a trained chef with experience in making ice cream. None of the ingredients in question are added to save money. In fact, these plant-derived gums add expense. No ice cream will last at proper consistency more that 24 hours at max. without gums or protein alteration, so this is why a commercial pre-packed ice cream at a grocer is hard to impossible to find. Tweeking the description of production methods just bends the rules for those who choose to believe it is possible to create such an ice cream to sit in your store’s freezer box. And Paul as you know, you can get a much more potent flavor-forward (rather than butter-fat or ice-forward) ice cream this way too.

          • I disagree, Breyers Natural Vanilla used to be additive free and it was the best on the market, that was before they were bought out by the bigger companies. The consistency of their ice cream never lacked. All these gums and carrageenans give me terrible stomach pains and IBS

    • Carrageenan causes inflammation! And inflammation is what causes many illnesses including heart problems. I have experienced this myself and will now read all ingredients. Its out in hundreds of things- look it up for yourselves!

  9. By the way, the reason the new Breyers tastes bad isn’t because of stabilizers, it’s because it’s crap ice cream. Stabilizers can be used to make good ice cream better (egg custard is a stabilizer, folks … that’s the purpose it serves in French-style ice cream) … or they can be used to try to make crap ice cream somewhat less crappy.

    I liked Breyers when I was a kid; today it’s inedible.

    • Paul – You say Breyers is crap ice cream and tastes bad, but it’s not because of the stabilizers. Then what? The only thing left is milk, cream and sugar. Are they using bad milk? An inferior process? Please explain. I already addressed the use of eggs and other stabilizers in reply to your other comment above, so we won’t rehash that again. And eggs don’t always make better ice cream. Again, refer to above comment.
      Companies will say they need to use stabilizers to prevent ice crystals from forming during transportation. If vendors don’t handle the ice cream properly and maintain a constant temperature, the ice cream can heat up, melt and refreeze which causes the formation of ice crystals. But you don’t need a lot of stabilizers to accomplish this. Big companies are using stabilizers in larger proportions to make up for other costly ingredients and methods. I think we know the difference between eggs and carrageenan as stabilizers. That’s not what we’re talking about here.

      • Ice cream can be bad because of excessive use of stabilizers, used to compensate for other failings—like you said. This doesn’t mean that the presence of stabilizers makes the ice cream bad.

        Just like food can be bad when there’s an excessive use of salt to compensate for lack of flavor. This doesn’t mean it’s bad because of salt; it’s bad because it’s way out of balance because of cost-cutting.

        Cheap ice cream is often over-stabilized to compensate for a lack of milk fat. Milk fat makes ice cream creamy, and gives it the melting texture we like. And it’s expensive. So stabilizer ingredients can be used in quantities where they’re no longer being used as stabilizers; they’re being used as cream substitutes.

        This can actually be done convincingly, if you use expensive ingredients. But the point here is to use cheap ones. The result can be a gummy texture, or an unpleasant coating sensation in your mouth.

        The other reason cheap ice cream can suck is that good flavor ingredients tend to be expensive. High quality vanilla = expensive. High quality chocolate = expensive. Ripe fresh fruit = expensive. Good coffee = expensive. Good nuts = expensive. This is where artificial (or natural) flavorings come in. They are cheaper, and they don’t taste as good as the real deal. Vanilla extract doesn’t taste as good as full bourbon vanilla pods. Vanilin is a natural flavoring that tastes worse still. And artificial vanilla flavor tastes even worse. These are listed in order of most expensive to practically free.

        I haven’t bought Breyers in years. But I’m willing to bet that you’ll find the answer to their quality issues right here. You’re not going to find those answers in the mere presence of ingredients that are ubiquitous in the best ice creams made.

  10. Polysobate 80 used as an emulsifier created such a bad reaction I thought I was drugged. then ended up with a migraine, sort of breath and palpitations. Took 4 days to shake the effect

  11. While shopping in Harris Teeter yesterday I could not find one ice cream without all the crap ingredients. Harris Teeter even has their own line, called ALL NATURAL, in capital letters. How surprising that the 4th ingredient was high fructose corn syrup!!!! So disgusted with the ice cream options!

    • Sara – Yes, I find its faster and easier to make our own ice cream than spending time looking for “Natural” ice cream at the stores. It’s getting harder and harder to find and when they are truly natural, they are usually quite expensive. Take a look at our Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker Review. The maker is relatively inexpensive, is easy and fun to use and you know exactly what ingredients goes into your ice cream. We use it all summer long and surprisingly quite often even during the winter months.

  12. Great article! Death to the FDA. They will say anything is safe for human consumption as long as the $ is right. I.E.(Aspartame)

    • Thanks, Twin. And yes, the FDA is run like any other government entity. Would not trust anything with its “Stamp of Approval” on it. People get sick and even die from food that was inspected and approved by the FDA all the time. But you never hear the blame on them.

  13. Correction says:

    I must clarify one thing mentioned with regard to Blue Bunny brand ice cream.
    Their “Blue Bunny Premium Vanilla Bean” ice cream lists only these ingredients:
    Milk, Cream, Skim Milk, Sugar, Egg Yolks Natural Vanilla Extract and Vanilla Bean Specks.
    And, I might add, it is absolutely delicious!

  14. can you tell me if your ice cream has propylene glycol in it. This is one of the worst ingredient that could be put in any products.
    Thanks

    • Barbara – The ice cream we make at home does not have propylene glycol in it – just milk, cream, sugar and whatever flavorings we want which, of course, are all natural as well. Propylene glycol is used in many products from food to cosmetics to anti-freeze solutions. Yes, there is “food-grade” and pharmaceutical-grade propylene glycol, but like any additive, I still don’t want it in my ice cream, body lotion or mouthwash.

  15. Diana Burdick says:

    I was in Walmart the other day and Blue Bunny which has been one of my favorite ice creams DOES contain carrageenan. I suggest reading labels more carefully. I am disappointed in finding this in an ice cream that I love.

    • Diana – Yes, I now am in the constant habit of reading every label on everything I buy. Lots of products that we used to purchase, not just Breyers, are changing their recipes and ingredients to make them cheaper. I’m finding it easier just to make my own versions at home then to spend so much time reading the labels at the stores.

  16. About two years ago, after many expensive tests and procedures, I discovered that the stabilizer carrageenan was the cause of my chronic gastrointestinal problems. Well, I thought that it was the only problem. I have just discovered that guar gum and locust bean gum also cause me problems.

    Carrageenan safety for human consumption is questioned by peer-reviewed research done by academic labs not funded by the food industry. Food industry funded studies say it’s safe. Guar and locust bean gums are not unsafe according to research, but some people are very sensitive to them, like me, and they cause gastrointestinal distress. Not everyone reacts this way. I can eat other gum stabilizers without problems, like gellen and xanthan gums.

    Three Twins is the ONLY organic ice cream in my region without the problem stabilizers. The Turkey Hill naturals are the only NON-organic option in my region. BTW, Three Twins is by far the BEST ice cream I’ve ever had! The Bittersweet Chocolate is my favorite! I hope they never stop making it!
    P.S. here’s a link to information (with further references) about the various stabilizers used in food.

  17. I hate the gum in ice creams, because ever single time I take the container out of the freezer, it’s like soft ice cream, and I hate that. The gum makes it soft like that. I haven’t had actual HARD ice cream in like five years! The texture is just gummy goo, and it’s gross!

    • Donna – Five years! Unfortunately, there are a lot of ice cream brands that do use gums and other emulsifiers, stabilizers, etc.. As mentioned in this article, as well as by others in the comments section, there are still some of the brands that do not use gums and only use natural ingredients. Although time consuming, when choosing an ice cream in the store you’ll have to read the label to really know what you’re getting…. Or, like us, you may want to consider making your own. It’s fairly simple and you know what’s in it every time. 🙂

    • If one ice cream is softer than another at the same temperature, it’s because of something else. Usually the sugar content or the makeup of the sugars. Gums have no effect at all on freezing point suppression.

      Ice cream with too many stabilizers will often have the alarming quality of fully melting when it gets warm. The ice will melt and it will maintain its shape. If you see this, you’re dealing with really crappy stuff.

      • “Ice cream with too many stabilizers will often have the alarming quality of fully melting when it gets warm”

        I meant to say NOT fully melting …

  18. David Rahrer says:

    I think the safety concerns are a stretch. The problem I have with these ice creams (I think many are now called a frozen dessert or other alias) is that they are simply dreadful – taste awful! I hadn’t had Breyers for a while as I was restricting my calories, so when I tried some recently I almost gagged. This used to be a really good ice cream. I can still remember when they took the green coloring out of the mint chocolate chip to support their “all natural” claim (now back in). You could taste the custard in the vanilla when it melted some, it was real milk fat and plenty of it. Does anyone know when it changed?

    The closest I’ve come is Ben and Jerry’s vanilla, but I see that Unilever has purchased them as well. I can’t imagine anyone eating this goop and liking it. Buying a venerable and respected brand only to destroy it doesn’t sound like a good business plan to me.

    I need to find my old ice cream maker.

  19. Non of these ice cream brands can legally claim to be ALL NATURAL if they are using milk from cows that have been injected with BGH (bovine growth hormones).

  20. What I read has been my very vocal pet peeve and, in fact, I do take the time to write to many ice cream brands. Now I will write my criticisms to Unilever and Nestle’s whose brands dominate most supermarket shelves and freezer sections. And I am also going to write to food companies where corn syrup is the their top five main ingredients beyond pancake syrup.

    Is all that corn syrup and its various byproduct sweeteners essential to taste, as in cereal, BBQ and meat marinades etc? Even mass made gelatos are redolent with corn syrup and other lab process ingredients.

    I will also write to FDA. Only reason these companies and government overpaid, under-working bureaucrats as FDA pander to cheap formulas and recipes is that they themselves can afford the best stuff and their families have the best health care, so they are oblivious to the incremental health problems of the rest of us.

    Oftentimes, edible chemicals and preservatives manifest problems years after FDA employees retire or move on. In my opinion, government policy makers should suffer responsibility long after they retire from government rank.

    Anyway, most consumers fail to realize that it costs them virtually nothing except a bit of time to simply email, mail a postcard size critique or fax their complaints. Volume of similar complaints can flex as much influence as a handful of lobbyists.

    I always take time to be articulate in communicating my evaluations on any product I find substandard. If only a few hundred per day nationwide pounded on FDA and companies making hi profits at the expense of cheaply made ingredients, that would translate to threat of less sales. They do worry about diminishing sales which would force them to alter their product to please more customers.

    • Barb Grosvenor says:

      Please write to me about Nestle and other brands your investigating, I too would like to have the public be able to do away with all the unwanted and sometimes dangerous ingredients used. My thought is to get many people at the same time, not a march but protesting, so it actually gets National attention. I’m sorry to say I’m not sure how many of our younger generation who are going to be the ones affected more and more will care. I do read all the time about CORN SYRUP , and many other ingredient that cause weight gain. I have already banned any Nabisco products but mainly because of their plants being moved to MEXICO. Thank you, Barb

  21. Ana M. Perez says:

    I just bought Breyer’s ice cream flavors: Rocky Road and Strawberry (July 29, 2015). I thought it was simple natural ingredients. Got home and the Rocky Road has carrageenan which makes me very sick with my intestines! I avoid carrageenan. I did not expect to find it in this brand. I didn’t check the label, as I normally do, but I thought Breyer’s was all natural. I gave it to my spouse and tried the Strawberry. It has tara gum. I didn’t like the mouth feel, felt very strange in that it was too creamy and too fluffy. Disgusting. Threw it all in the trash. I guess I’ll need to look in my storage room for my old Cuisinart ice cream maker and make things from scratch. Good Humor and Blue Bunny Strawberry Crunch bars both have carrageenan as well.

  22. No gums or other weird things in Blue Bunny Premium Vanilla Bean ice cream. And from what i’ve seen, this is Blue Bunny’s only flavor with no gums. INGREDIENTS: Milk, Cream, Skim Milk, Sugar, Egg Yolks, Natural Vanilla Extract and Vanilla Bean Specks. And I didn’t find the flavor to be eggy tasting.

    • I just wanted to clarify…the 1.75 quart size of Blue Bunny’s Premium Vanilla Bean ice cream is the one with no gums. Oddly, the pint size of this same flavor is a different recipe which contains Carob Bean Gum. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

  23. Thank you to Fez for the update on blue bunny premium vanilla ice cream in the 1.75 quart size with no gums. Will look for in stores.

  24. Lori Howe says:

    Turkey Hill and Strauss are the only ones I’m finding these days that are Just the good stuff. Otherwise, I make my own. Like the old Breyer’s commerical said, it only takes 4 ingredients… Or was that Dreyer’s? Never could keep them straight.

  25. I should wounder why more people don’t get more cancer with all the additives we put in our foods. Keep it natural please.

    • Cancer rates are increasing in recent years. Compare to previous years. Also there are cancers not seen before occurring especially in youth. GMO Genetically Modified Foods contain glyphosate (round up ) residues which cause tumors and also glyphosate is a neurotoxin.

  26. Very good summary and making your own ice cream is best. Be sure to use NON-GMO ingredients by all means avoid the Hormone milk which also known as pus milk since the cows given the hormone develop mastitis. Only pure ingredients used to avoid any GMO glyphosate (roundup) residue in your dessert. Glyphosate is a known neurotoxin and causes tumors. Keep healthy by avoiding any food containing Genetically Modified organisms. Buy organic or Non-GMO verified label food to be sure no glyphosate poison in it.

  27. I’m not sure how old this post is but I would like to say that I can’t find anything in my area without gums in it. That includes whipping cream and I can’t eat ice cream or dairy that has gums or carageenan in it. It tears my stomach to pieces. So those of you making your own ice cream need to make sure there are no thickeners or stabilizers in your creams and milks. I can find 2% milk in my local store without any stablizers, its brand is Central Market Organics but many of their other products have the carageenan in it. It’s really a slippery slope for me to find what it is I can eat anymore. Ice cream is definitely not one of those things.

    • Suzy – It drives me crazy when I see so many products with carageenan and assorted gums in them. Yesterday, I picked up a jar of “fancy” high-priced olives and it had xanthum gum in it. Don’t even get me started on pickles (it’s why we make our own now). And an all-natural granola bar brand (I think it was Sunshine) contained carageenan. Why in the world do these products need these additives? Why do you need a refined seaweed product in granola bars?

      And yes, it’s nearly impossible to find whipping cream without carageenan. Most of the time we make our ice cream with half and half because it actually only contains milk and cream. If we want whipping cream without carageenan, we have to travel 15 miles to the Whole Foods and pay extra for one brand that they carry that doesn’t have it.

      • In making my Christmas cookies I wound up with six leftover egg yolks and was looking for a recipe to make with them so I wouldn’t have to throw them away. Mostly because I am by myself right now since hubby is gone for business and I didn’t want to eat an egg dish all week long, lol. Anyway, I had decided then that I would make ice cream and will be making it with half and half because I do have that without carageenan. I know I said above I can’t find things without it but I meant there are so many things with carageenan or gums in them. I also don’t understand the logic for it. There is one milk and one half and half I can get at my store without gums and carageenan, I will be in huge trouble if they stop carrying it.

        I was telling my husband we had all those yolks left and I found this maple ice cream recipe and promised him I would make it for him. He’s excited because he loves maple, lol.

        http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2012/11/maple-ice-cream-recipe.html

  28. Carrie Ann says:

    I used to suffer from classic migraines quite often. A couple of years ago I started keeping a food diary in an attempt to identify dietary triggers. It took awhile for me to put the clues together because foods that contain thickeners are so varied, but I came to realize eventually that they are my primary migraine trigger. I can eat the stuff moderately but if I go overboard , like eating store ice cream a few days in a row, I’ll get a migraine in a couple of days! Every time. And I can’t even touch Reddi whip whipped cream. I don’t know what the deal is with these thickeners but they can’t be good if they have this effect on me.

    • Carrie Ann – Glad you found the cause of your migraines. What ice cream brand were you primarily eating when you go the migraines?

      And you are better off not eating Reddi-Wip since it contains artificial flavors, mono- and diglycerides, and carrageenan. We like making our own whipped cream. It doesn’t take long to whip up heavy cream and it tastes much better. The only thing, it’s so difficult to find heavy cream in the store that doesn’t contain carrageenan. Out of all the grocery stores around here, the only one that carries a 100% heavy cream product without carageenan is the Whole Foods in the next town over.

  29. Daniel Shuman says:

    What I miss most about upstate New York was Turkey Hill natural flavor. Milk cream sugar egg yolks and vanilla bean was all the ingredients in vanilla! Sad that I can’t find it in Portland Oregon.

  30. Where are those making ice cream at home finding cream without gum in it. Even the local organics I find have gum in them.

    My son was recently diagnosed with IBD and they are linking emulsifiers and preservatives to being triggers for those who are sensitive. Also some studies seem to also link them to metabolic disease. Not all emulsifiers were tested but the mechanism is believed to be the same.

    While High Fructose Corn syrup is linked to diabetes, growing cancer, and other disease.

    Add glyphosate (roundup) and pesticides to our food crops all with FDA and USDA blessing, a growing number of people, especially children are having intestinal and other problems.

    If 95% of the population doesn’t have any outward problem with it does it make it truly, truly, safe?

    Anecdotally, I have several friends that thought they had celiacs and found thet can eat any wheat that’s glyphosate free.

    I know I’m on a tangent but let me pull it back on target. We may have used certain food additives for many years but we’ve added such large quantities and types to our diets, along with so many other chemicals. It might not affect you, you might think it makes the food better longer but when you can’t buy a high heat canned good or Dill pickle without a preservative or emulsifier there is a huge problem. Our ancestors canned, pickled, and fermented to preserve food and it worked well. Now we do the same and add other additives that we really don’t guilt test the affect of.

    • Nyle – Yes, it’s difficult to find cream now without gums and/or other additives. Every heavy cream product in our regular grocery stores around here have carrageenan in it. There is one brand, can’t remember the name, that I found at Whole Foods that does only contain cream. I’ve also purchased non-homogenized, raw whole milk from a local dairy, let the cream rise and skim it off for making ice cream.

  31. Well here I thought breyers was all natural, but to me it’s not – not with tara gum added. Guess I’ll buy Turkey Hill all natural ice cream which is made from the 5 ingredients that breyers once was. Thanks Unilever for ruining another product since big corporate takeovers. A lot of favorite foods are gone for good and its terrible going to the store and finding everything you buy is getting smaller and smaller.

  32. I also agree w/Homer, Turkey Hill all natural (Philadelphia Style) is at the top of my list just four ingredients…

  33. Frank F says:

    I see some comments on here in favor of gums. That they yield better “mouth feel” and creamy texture. Maybe it’s a matter of preference but I hate the mouth feel of gum “enhanced” ice cream. I loved the old Breyers. When it melted in your mouth it didn’t leave a film and tasted like a sweet vanilla milkshake. To each their own I guess but to me, Breyers was great and (just my opinion) far better without the gum. Companies exist for profit. They added gum for profit. Simple as that.

  34. ” Maybe it’s a matter of preference but I hate the mouth feel of gum “enhanced” ice cream.”
    You hate the texture of bad ice cream, which often has too many stabilizers added. If you have ice cream made by the best pastry chefs in the world, it will be better than the old breyers, and it will be better than anything else you’ve ever had. And 9 times out of 10 there will be a small quantity of gums in it. This isn’t for profit; it’s because the people making the best stuff in the world know what’s required to do so, and they aren’t superstitious about it.

    • 90% of the best pastry chefs in the world are not using stabilizers to make their ice cream. Some prefer to use technique, specialized equipment or other types of ingredients (i.e., alternative sugars) over the use of gums to attain ice cream bliss.

  35. I have come before complaining about not finding whipping cream without gums or carrageenan added in my local area. I have been periodically searching for ways to make some great vanilla ice cream without whipping cream and decided I would try making some just using half and half. Then I decided one more search was needed, a substitute for whipping cream and I found it. Yay!

    In my search I found this website for whipping cream replacements and it says to use 3/4 cup half and half and 2/3 cup unsalted butter mixed together until homogeneously blended (Recipe link added below). There was another one that had a ratio of 1/3 cup unsalted butter to 3/4 cup milk. I am going to err on the side of using only 1/3 cup butter the first time and also make a batch without the butter. I’ll have my hubby do a blind taste test to tell me how he likes each one.

    I then went on to look for an ice cream recipe that requires cooking the whipping cream instead of just adding it in after cooking the milk, egg and sugar parts. My recipe only requires cooking the custard with milk eggs and sugar, but to add the whipping cream later. I figured it would probably setup the butter as the ice cream was frozen, unless a custard was made first.

    I found Alton Browns recipe which cooks the whipping cream with the milk, eggs and sugar. So, between the two, a great ice cream without any added gums is on the horizon. I’ll come back and let everyone know how it goes for me since I am making some this week. Recipe link added below.

    This is where I found the whipping cream substitute recipe
    http://eugeniekitchen.com/whipping-cream-substitute/

    I found this ice cream recipe from Alton Brown
    http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/vanilla-ice-cream-recipe.html

    • Suzy – Thanks for those tips. Haven’t seen the one about using butter. I just made a batch of chocolate ice cream and added 1/2 of an avocado for extra fat and creaminess. Yes, let us know how everything turns out with your recipe. The only place I have found locally that sells whipping cream without carrageenan, gums or other additives, is the Whole Foods. But they don’t always have it and the cost is more than if I just bought a good quality ice cream. Looking forward to hearing about your results.

  36. It’s getting a little silly to see all these completely unrelated things conflated. Gums have nothing to do with stabilizers, which have nothing to do with emulsifiers, which have nothing to do with preservatives.

    Most stabilizers have been used for decades or centuries, if not millennia. Egg custard is a stabilizer. Gelatin is a stabilizer. Corn starch is a stabilizer. If you’ve ever thickened gravy with flour, made pudding with starch, or mixed jell-o, you’ve used hydrocolloid stabilizers which are just like the ones in ice cream. If you’re shunning these ingredients because they’re unfamiliar to you, you’re acting like the people in the 1700s who burned witches.

    Carrageenans come from Irish moss seaweed. They’ve been used as thickeners in food since the 1500s. Locust bean gum comes from the seeds of the carob tree and has been used since the 1st century in Egypt. Guar is legume … it has been used as a protein source for hundreds of years in India.

    If you want to learn something about these ingredients in ice cream—ideally for the purpose of making your own ice cream better—I invite you read my blog series on the topic at underbelly-nyc.blogspot.com. It reflects what I’ve learned, directly and indirectly, from some of the world’s top pastry chefs and food scientists. And also from my own experiments.

    • Right on Paul!!! Use the right tool for the job and the product is better, whether it is to reduce syneresis or improve mouth feel, or make ice cream easier to scoop or last longer in the freezer (more freeze/thaw cycles). I certainly don’t use low methoxyl pectin in low-sugar jam because I want to reduce cost, but because I want a product that I can’t make any other way. Same for every other “additive” that climbs into my mixing bowl.

  37. In a post above, Suzy talks about not being able to find whipping cream without gums.

    I agree that this is annoying. The gums aren’t bad if you’re making whipped cream … they make the cream easier to whip. But if you’re making ice cream, and are serious about it, those gums are going to mess with your recipe. They’re not bad. They might even make the ice cream better. But you have no idea what’s in there, or if the formula will always be the same, so it will be harder to make your ice cream consistent.

    I buy my milk and cream from a local co-op that sells milk from regional farms. There’s usually at least one brand that’s gum-free. I imagine milk like this is harder to find in some parts of the country. These smaller farm milks also tend to be pasteurized at lower temperatures, which can have advantages for certain ice cream making processes.

    You can also try farmers markets. I do recommend buying milk that’s been homogenized. Some farmers sell unhomogenized milk at the markets; this will lead to ice cream with a less smooth texture.

  38. I am now reading the ingredients of Blue Bunny VANILLA BEAN Ice Cream which include:
    Milk, Cream, Skim Milk, Sugar, Egg Yolks, Natural Vanilla Extract and Vanilla Bean Specks. Nothing else! It is delicious! (Blue Bunny also has a “Vanilla” Ice Cream which does have other ingredients.)

  39. I discovered, quite by accident, that my food was making me sick. I wasn’t sure what it was in the food so I started keeping track of what I had eaten the 24hrs prior to migraines/vomiting episodes. (I had always had migraines but as I got older they got more frequent and more severe.) I found that gums and carrageenan along with a number of other processing ingredients are likely culprits. In this way I found that artificial colors and flavors don’t seem to bother me at all. When I checked labels after being sick it was always something full of gums, carrageenan and/or “natural flavors.” I avoid that stuff now and I feel great! I spent a few months actively seeking artificial flavors and colors to see if they would make me sick…they didn’t…it’s the “natural” stuff that’s killing me.

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