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Breyers Converts Ice Creams to “Frozen Dairy Desserts”

When product manufacturers want to cut costs or increase their profits, they can do one of several things. Many don’t want to raise prices because of the consumer backlash and possible reduction in sales. So, many choose to downsize the product as we have demonstrated here. Others take a less conventional approach and reformulate their product so that it is cheaper to produce and distribute.

Breyers downsized their half-gallons of ice cream first to 56 ounces and then again to 48 ounces around 2008.


Now they have taken a new tack. They are reformulating many of their flavors.

Take a look at “old” Breyer’s Vanilla Fudge Twirl ice cream:


Breyers Real Ice Cream

Now take a look at the new package of “Vanilla Fudge Twirl”:

Breyers dairy dessert

The new one is no longer even called “ice cream” but is now “frozen dairy dessert.” It is no longer “all natural” either. And the vanilla ice cream claim has been replaced with a “vanilla flavor claim.”


Under federal law, to be called “ice cream”, a product must meet a certain standard of identity, which in this case requires that there be at least 10% milk fat in the product. That generally would come from the cream in the product. If the product does not meet the federal “recipe” for ice cream, it has to be called something else. In this case, they are calling it frozen dairy dessert which has no federal definition (other than it does not meet the standards to be called ice cream.)

Here are the ingredients statements from both vanilla fudge twirl packages:


Breyers old ingredients

Breyers New Ingredients

The old real ice cream product has milk and cream as the first two ingredients. The new version has cream listed as fourth (with milk, sugar and corn syrup predominating over cream). The new product also has half the fat as the old. While dieters might rejoice, the calories are nearly the same, and the taste is not likely to match the original.

The Breyers’ website spins why they changed many of their ice cream flavors to “frozen dairy dessert”:

Since 1866, Breyers products have consistently delivered high-quality ingredients, great flavors and smooth creaminess that our fans love, and we remain committed to that Pledge. Our Ice Cream and new Frozen Dairy Dessert varieties continue to use fresh milk, cream and sugar. What distinguishes our Frozen Dairy Dessert from our Ice Cream is that it’s blended in a whole new way to create a smoother texture.

Hmmm. They seem to have left out the fact that using less cream saves the company a lot of money.

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34 thoughts on “Breyers Converts Ice Creams to “Frozen Dairy Desserts””

  1. The Breyers natural vanilla was one of a couple of brands of storebought ice cream that I would buy as the ingredients were ingredients recognizable as ice cream ingredients. Looks like I better replace my ice cream freezer—I’m not interested in their new recipe at all.

  2. It is time that when big companies do this there should be a massive boycott and show them you are the real “boss”, the consumer. They do all of this cost cutting and downsizing so they can have more money for the CEOs.

  3. Yeah, they actually got busted on this, at first they didn’t change the wording and people found out there wasn’t dairy in their ice cream.

    I noticed it myself as, for a while, it started to taste very different, almost “watery”.

    Make sure you read the labels!

  4. Rick G, what is hard about the boycott is, there usually aren’t other options as all companies follow suit and do the same thing.

    I mean, show me a cell phone company, cable company, gas station, etc… that is a “good guy”. Many food companies have become the same, so much deception.

  5. @Rick G: no, more than likely the food manufacturers downsize and/or reformulate products because of the unrelenting pressure to lower prices for consumer goods. As prices for raw ingredients rise, they have to cut costs because the market probably won’t support higher prices. So consumers and big retailers are the ones to blame for these product changes.

  6. The only positive news I can find is that it’s more healthier for you! Lower fats, less cholesterol, sodium and sugar!

  7. I always liked Breyers ice cream, but much like all other products in this country QUANITY has been reduced. Breyers now is reducing QUALITY by the substitution of ingredients. The product has gone down and the PRICE will increase. Thank You Breyers for not considering your customers who have helped keep your company in buisness. If others feel the same way your bottom line will also be gettin a loss of Quanity.

  8. I guess the new version is healthier for you, but at what cost? Flavor? More artificial ingredients? Hard to say since I do not eat much ice cream.

    Of course, at Mouse Print I like to look at company labels and PR. They say that the dairy dessert has a smoother texture, but of course the knowledgeable consumer will know that means watered down and with more sugar.

  9. Are they allowed to use the same photo on the container? I thought the law stated the genuine contents had to be displayed.

  10. HMMM the Bryers website lists more than just Vanilla Fudge Twirl as a Frozen Dairy Desert:

    I spot Butter Pecan, Rocky Road, Caramel Praline Crunch, Black Raspberry Chocolate, and more funky flavors…

    Stuff like chocolate, Vanilla, and the Vanilla, Chocolate, Strawberry flavor are still labeled ice cream though…..

    I hope the flavor is still good, but they did lower the fats, cholesterol, sodium and sugar which I guess is better.

  11. I noticed the change from “ice cream” to “frozen dairy dessert” on the labels a few months ago. I didn’t study the ingredients to see what the change meant. I just know that I like to buy ice cream, and I have no interest in buying frozen dairy dessert (fdd). So I always make sure what I buy in this category says “ice cream” on the label.

    Now, if Breyer’s wants to sell fdd instead of ice cream, they can do that. But if they are so proud of their new formulation, you’d think they would be touting the change, not hiding it. Actions speak louder than words: they’re trying to pull a fast one. I used to think Breyer’s was a quality brand. Clearly, that’s no longer the case.

  12. Real Ice Cream not only contains a fair amount of cream, it contains eggs. There is only one national brand that I know of that still does. Next trip to the store, see if you can identify which it is. compare it’s labels to others in the same case.

  13. My lifelong impression of Breyer’s (rightly or not)was: that the brand was at the top of the catagory. The ONE distinction Breyer’s had in comparison to its competitors was ALL NATURAL ICE CREAM. Now that’s gone. Next thing you know, General Motors will start putting Chevy V8 engines in Oldsmobiles and Cadillacs and then…well, THAT story’s been written.

  14. Just checking my weekly grocery flyer: “Price Chopper” (store brand), “VANILLA” (no “flavored” weasel word), “ICE CREAM” (no other weasel words on carton), “56 oz” (yeah, not a half-gallon, but NOT 48 oz either). On sale: $2.50.

  15. I stopped buying Breyers a long time ago when they cut the amount of product, then processed so much air into the mix that there was hardly any ice cream in what was left. One day my husband brought home of these new mixes that are not even ice cream. After I pointed it out to him, we switched to another brand of ice cream that is rich, satisfying, REAL and tastes great.

    Breyer’s had been the only brand we had ever purchased before all this happened. If they thought that they could put this type of trick over the eyes of their previously dedicated buyers, they are going to find out otherwise.

    No business can so devalue its brand and keep the loyalty of its buyers. SHAME on Breyers! I will never regret tossing them to the curb.

  16. Back when Bryer’s was owned by Good Humor it was a quality product, great taste and the flavors really came through. Since Unilever bought it out (always a sign of the product quality going downhill), it has taken a dive in nutritional value and taste. Leave it to corporatocracy to ruin a good thing…

  17. This past summer, I stopped at a local ice cream store I frequent all summer with my grand daughter. On this particular evening my grand daughter didn’t eat all of her ice cream and put the remainder in the freezer. She took it out the next day and place it on the kitchen counter and forgot it for a few hours. To my horror when I discovered it, it was still not melted; even at room temperature for hours. It remained in a state that assured me, this was not ice cream, but some chemical concoction. The next time you stop for what you thought was ice cream,ask about the ingredients.

  18. I certainly won’t be buying it. I only look for all natural ingredients, which do NOT include corn syrup. I only buy 2 brands at this time that are all real milk, cream, sugar. Plus it disgusts me when products are downsized to try to fool the consumer. Bad Breyers.

  19. I can make my own ice cream, but got used to buying Breyers because they used sugar instead of corn syrup, and DIDN’T include eggs (I have a slight egg alergy.) Guess it’s back to the ol’ homemade ice cream. Can’t complain, home-made was always tastier — I was just purchasing convenience.

  20. While I certainly enjoy egg in my ice cream (Häagen-Dazs, in my case) the prior comment is the first I’ve ever heard someone say it’s an ice cream requisite! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ice_cream only mentions eggs in “Frozen custard.” Hopefully as a “super premium” brand, HD will not become a FDD any time soon.

  21. Breyers was the one of the most natural ice creams out there. It’s too bad companies have to change things like this.

  22. I am sorry if some don’t agree but I worked in manufacturing and the way management does business is ” you have to make it cheaper”. If it were a matter of rising costs I as a consumer would rather pay a little more to get the same quality of product that I received before instead of them downsizing containers or changing formula’s.

  23. It gets worse. Breyers has been selling “frozen desserts” (not FDD) in Canada for the last few years. They’re made with modified milk ingredients and hydrogenated coconut oil and include natural and artificial flavor, along with many other additives. Those “frozen desserts” don’t taste or feel anything like real ice cream. They’re actually pretty disgusting and I refuse to buy them. One should realize that food made by Unilever isn’t very natural, as they’re primarily known for personal care products and cleaning agents. They even managed to ruin the formulation of Noxzema and Radox products, since purchasing those brands, a few years ago.

  24. What’s really scary is after some time a new generation will believe that FDD is what ice cream is supposed to taste like.

  25. Another once proud product relegated to the eventual trash bin of products. Just word of mouth will soon render this company a distant memory. What fools they be.

    Consumers are well aware of the downsizing and what manufactures do to cut corners in both size and quality and these frauds should become the poster child for that.

    There are real ice creams available. Some are expensive and surprisingly some are not.

  26. Didn’t Breyer’s used to have a commercial where a little kid read off the ingredients in a competitor’s ice cream and their ice cream? I believe the point was you should know everything that goes into their product. Breyer’s new ice cream seems to counter this…

  27. Well Mike go to youtube and you will find old ads from the 80’s that did it. 4 ingredients only for the Strawberry ice cream…

  28. I purchased my last container of Breyers. I thought the taste was ‘off’ and was very disappointed. When I noticed ‘frozen dairy dessert’ I was shocked, Breyers used to be an ‘all natural’ ice cream with real ingredients. Now it is filled with corn syrup and other chemicals. What a shame. It used to be my favorite, I hope Ben and Jerry’s doesn’t consider these cost cutting measures…

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