Last year, we reported that Breyers “cheapened” many varieties of their ice cream by reducing the amount of butterfat content to the point where the product could no longer legally be called “ice cream,” but rather had to be renamed “frozen dairy dessert.”
Some stalwart flavors, like MrConsumer’s beloved lactose-free vanilla, remained untouched until now. To MrConsumer’s horror and surprise, Breyers quietly converted that ice cream variety to “light ice cream.”
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In the new packaging, the “All Natural Ice Cream” claim is replaced with the phrase “Quality Since 1866.” Of course, it doesn’t say the same quality. And the words “ice cream” are replaced with “light ice cream.”
What exactly is “light ice cream?” According to FDA rules:
“Light” ice cream contains at least 50% less total fat or 33% fewer calories than the referenced product (the average of leading regional or national brands).
Looking at the nutrition panels of the old Breyers lactose free ice cream and the new one reveals only a minor reduction in calories.
The old “ice cream” product had 130 calories and the new “light” one has 110 calories, only 20 fewer calories. It does however have half the fat. And, the federal law says that light ice cream must have EITHER half the fat OR 33% fewer calories.
There is just one problem, though. The front of the package claims very clearly that the new light ice cream has BOTH half the fat and 1/3 fewer calories.
Clearly, this new lactose free light ice cream does not comply with that representation when compared to their old regular lactose free ice cream. So how do they get away with this claim?
Tucked away on a side panel is that tiny disclosure. They are not comparing this new light ice cream with THEIR old regular ice cream, but rather with some super premium brands like Ben & Jerry’s and Haagen Dazs as well. Those have been thrown in to up the average amount of fat and calories in “full fat” brands, and thus make Breyers’ reduction seem more impressive than it really is. (Haagen Dazs has 250 calories and 17 grams of fat per serving, while Ben & Jerry’s has 230 calories and 14 grams of fat.)
Mouse Print* asked the PR firm representing Breyers three times to explain why they cheapened some of their products, and they provided no response.
If you spot a new example of “product dilution,” please send complete before and after details to edgar [at symbol] mouseprint.org .