Ice Cream: No Good Choices
Today is all about conflict of interests. Let me disclose them from the start.
1) Way back yonder in my advertising days I worked on some consumer packaged goods brands. Two of these were ice cream. Haagen Dazs wasn’t so bad to work on, but Edy’s was a nightmare. No small part of that had to do with the fact on the East Coast they are Edy’s, but on the west coast they are Dreyer’s (not to be confused with Breyer’s).
2) I am starting to make some personal connections with people at Price Chopper. We go to the same temple and serve on the same committees. Just yesterday I attended a meeting at Price Chopper’s corporate headquarters, which were surprisingly well appointed.
I mention these because recently I was involved in a little spirited tweet off with @PriceChopperNY about a new kind of ice cream recently made available in America.
Ultimately it made me think of something that I have probably mentioned in bits and pieces in previous posts, but never combined into one cohesive argument. If you care about the things I care about when it comes to ice cream and dairy, I cannot recommend any national brands.
Haagen Dazs is great, especially with their commitment to use kitchen cabinet ingredients and their avoidance of gums and stabilizers. But they have yet to make a stand about rBST in the milk and cream they use in their product. For the record, I want to see a declaration on the package. What a company says they do is one thing, but packaging claims are serious business.
Ben & Jerry’s used to be great before they were bought and started adding food gums and other unsavory ingredients. So if you want an ice cream made from the milk and cream of cows that were not treated with rBST you have to be willing to chow down on something that contains ingredients you would never use when making ice cream yourself.
This may just be the crazy talking, but I’ve now changed my entire family’s fluid dairy consumption to organic. It’s the antibiotics that really get me. But all the signs point to big dairy skirting around the FDA regulations, and when it looked like they were going to get caught with their pants down, the FDA delayed taking action. To me that’s a big red flag. However, the answer isn’t even organic ice cream, because those too can contain the dreaded gums.
You know who has ice cream I can fully endorse? Wegmans. They have a line of products called Food You Feel Good About. And you’ll never guess what’s in their vanilla ice cream: Organic Cream, Organic Sugar, Organic Skim Milk, Organic Egg Yolks, Organic Vanilla Extract. That’s it. Wow.
But it probably costs $6 a pint. Since organic milk is more than twice the cost of conventional milk, it would make sense. However in Syracuse, according to Wegmans website they sell it for a remarkable $2.99. Wow. I have no idea how they do it.
See, that wasn’t so hard. But of course, they are neither a national brand nor are their products sold in the Capital Region. Luckily here we have Crisan’s gelato, which is made daily with fresh dairy from one of our top local farms. You can even buy pints of it now at Cardona’s. And while I haven’t given close scrutiny to the list of ingredients, given the bakery’s commitment to quality ingredients, I would be very surprised to see any junk in the gelato.