Breyer’s Ice Cream… Ice Cream or Not?

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Ice cream

If you love eating ice cream, then you must have had a taste of Breyers ice cream. But then, how sure are you that that bucket of ice cream you have in your hands contains real ice cream.

You might be wondering if it could be anything else since it looks just like ice cream. And then, you trust the brand, and you have eaten their ice cream before, right? Well, you might have something they call frozen dairy dessert.

What is this, and what makes it different from ice cream? We will talk about this as you read on. But you need to know first that not everything that looks like ice cream is indeed ice cream.

The Breyers Brand

You might be surprised that some supposed ice creams don’t have the word Ice cream on their label. That is quite interesting, but it is somewhat disturbing too. That is the case with Breyers. This brand can’t describe their product as ice cream, but frozen dairy dessert.

The Breyers brand has quite a long history as ice cream manufacturers. Except ice cream was expressly forbidden in your house while growing up, you must have eaten Breyers many times before.

The brand has been available since 1866. It means they have been on the market for over 150 years. But the question remains, is this brand indeed ice cream or not?

Is Breyers Ice Cream Indeed Ice Cream or Not?

It might shock you, but we will say it just as it is. Some flavors from Breyers do not meet the basic criteria that the USDAS set for ice creams. The first and most important is that ice creams must have at least 10% milkfat, but Breyers does not meet this criterion.

Another criterion is that ice cream must not have an overrun of more than 100%. That means that air bubbles should not form more than half of the dessert after whipping it. Breyers do not meet this criterion too.

The question is, why would Breyers do this kind of thing? Well, the brand has explained that its customers were behind that decision. One of the company directors said they did research and found that people wanted something whose texture is smoother.

The problem was that ice cream requirements can’t give this kind of texture. So they decided to make “frozen dairy dessert” instead. So basically, they started making frozen dairy desserts to meet the needs of consumers.

Essentially, Breyers are very attentive when it comes to current food trends. They carefully follow what people post on Instagram. They also watch out for people’s snacking and eating habits. So as soon as a trend, for instance, salted caramel enters the mainstream, they’ll quickly release the flavor in their product line.

But it’s not as if they make decisions impulsively, though. Sometimes, they might deliberate on a flavor for about 4-5 years before they create it. This means they search for what appeals to customers and wait for the appropriate time to create it.

At a time, they noticed that people a lot was being said on portion control by people on Instagram. This was the inspiration behind the brand’s 3-ounce ice cream cups.

The same was what happened when they realized that people were craving multiple ice cream flavors and textures. And they did the same when people wanted ice cream with a much smoother texture. They created the frozen dairy dessert.

Ice Cream vs. Frozen Dairy Dessert: What’s the Difference?

Ice creams are made with milk and cream. They also usually contain fruit or some other flavors. Also, they contain sugar as sweeteners or, in some cases, artificial sweeteners. And they are whipped to get air bubbles into them.

Ice creams are typically cooled at a temperature lower than the freezing point of water. This prevents ice crystals from forming. You can usually find ice cream in the form of tubs, cones, biscuit sandwiches, and sticks.

There are many ice cream varieties out there on the market. These include gelato, frozen custard, sorbet, and frozen yogurt. People eating vegan style and those with lactose intolerance would usually eat ice cream varieties made with milk substitutes.

Federal regulations say that “ice cream” can only be used to describe a product that meets certain identity standards. We have mentioned two of these standards earlier.

One of these standards is that ice creams must have 10% milkfat or more. Milkfats are the reasons why ice creams have their typical richness they give your taste buds. They usually come from cream rather than from milk.

If a product falls short of this standard, it can’t be called ice cream. The producer must look for another name to call it. In the case of Breyers, they chose to call it by the name, “frozen dairy dessert”. There is no federal regulation guiding the use of this name.

When you check the ingredients of ice cream products, you’ll see that milk and cream are usually the first 2 ingredients on the list. But this is not the case with frozen dairy dessert. They usually have cream as the 4th on their list.

Remember that milkfat usually comes from cream. So with less cream, it means the product does not have as much milkfat. There’s only half as much milkfat in Breyers frozen dairy dessert as there is in their former ice cream product.

Instead of milkfat, a frozen dairy dessert would contain mostly vegetable oil. Some common examples are coconut oil and palm kernel oil. But that’s not the only place where frozen dessert differs from ice cream.

Frozen dessert also has more than the recommended overrun. This makes it fluffier and lighter than ice cream. And, in turn, their texture is lighter.


Breyers ice cream might be frozen dairy dessert. But the taste, packaging, and pricing are similar to that of real ice creams. However, since the ingredients are not the same, the nutrient profiles are also different.

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