July is National Ice Cream Month, and in honor of our favorite dessert, we’ll post some interesting articles in the coming weeks.
Today, a look at Breyers and Dreyer’s, two leading brands that people often confuse with each other. Dreyer’s is owned by Nestle, and Breyers by Unilever, both huge European food corporations.
Breyers started on the east coast and expanded west; Dreyer’s – in the opposite direction. Dreyer’s adopted Edy’s as their brand name east of the Rockies, but Breyers did not reciprocate out west.
So which company makes better ice cream?
What you need to know:
Taste is a matter of choice, so we won’t comment. But we did want to check if there was any nutritional advantage to one brand over the other.
Breyers was once famous for its very short ingredient list – milk, cream, sugar, and vanilla. However, since being acquired by Unilever, and as a means to cut production costs, the ingredient list has changed and includes Tara gum, Guar gum, ice-structuring proteins, mono and diglycerides, corn-syrup, and something called Natural Flavor. For the most part, these additives are harmless, but you should inspect ingredient lists to make sure there are no artificial colors.
Today, both companies carry multiple lineups of products, divided into names such as “Light”, “No sugar added”, “All Natural”, and “Carb Smart”.
Keeping ice cream tasty while reducing its caloric foot print is not an easy task. Replacing sugar with artificial sweeteners and sugar alcohols is an easy first step, but yields a slightly off taste, and for some people causes bloating and gas.
Taking out the fat is a bigger challenge. After all the “cream” in “ice cream” is milk fat. Dreyer’s introduced a new processing method a few years ago called slow churning, which enables reaching the same creamy consistency of regular ice cream using a third less cream. Usually a spoonful more sugar is added to compensate for the loss of fat (17 grams vs 14 grams).
From a nutritional perspective Dreyer’s and Breyers are very simialar. A comparison of half cup serving of regular Vanilla ice cream is shown below.
What to do at the supermarket:
Here’s our ice cream philosophy – Ice cream is NOT a nutrition product. It should not be treated as one. It should be a fun and tasty treat consumed in moderation. Better a cup of creamy rich Vanilla ice cream once a week, than five half cups of subpar “1/3 calories less” product consumed almost daily.
Don’t eat ice cream as a meal replacement. Don’t eat straight out of the bucket in front of the TV.
Do add a scoop on top of fruit, or in a tall glass of ice coffee.
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