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Bon Appetit Loves Bad Ice Cream

July 30, 2015

Once upon a time, Bon Appetit had some kind of credibility. Thanks to the magic of Twitter, yesterday I was informed that Breyers vanilla ice cream made it on to the cover of the magazine’s July issue. But it gets worse. Let me show you the tweet.

How could this possibly be? Breyers isn’t the brand it used to be. After a long, deliberate, and deceptive packaging change, what was once the maker of simple, all-natural ice cream now is largely an industrial producer of frozen dairy dessert. A product so different and inferior to ice cream that it can’t be called ice cream on the package or in any marketing communications.

It would be a riot to read the Breyers Facebook page and see how the brand dances around trying to avoid the words “ice cream” if it weren’t so sad to see this once great brand in decline.

So. What gives with the Bon App cover? After a bit of sleuthing, I figured it out.

Bon App actually shared the extensive process their team went through to select the perfect ice cream to grace a blueberry galette that would be the July cover. Ultimately, it came down to this,

It had the perfect color (not too yellow, not too white), just the right amount of vanilla bean, and the way it melted reminded us of one of those hot, sweaty, perfect summers day. A cover girl is born.

This is what happens when you let art directors make important food decisions. Because the thing that gives Breyers its unique melting properties also has an impact on its color. And it just so happens it’s the same thing that ruined the brand.

Tara gum.

On YouTube you can watch a horribly boring trade film that shows the difference between ice cream made with guar gum and tara gum. But the key scenes are at 3:40 where you see how the two products scoop side by side, 3:55 where you see how they melt after ten minutes, 4:25 where you can witness the “cutting resistance” after ten minutes.

The ice cream made with tara gum barely melts.

This ingredient may be sourced from a Peruvian shrub, which of course makes it a natural product by law. But what it does to ice cream is entirely unnatural. Ice cream should melt. And I’m not so sure I want to be putting ice cream that barely melts into my body. I certainly know that I don’t like the sticky film it leaves in my mouth.

The editors at Bon Appetit should be ashamed of themselves. Trying to make food look pretty at the expense of how it tastes is how we ended up in this craptastic industrial agricultural system we have today, where tomatoes are gorgeous all year long, but taste like wet grass.

Of course Breyers is pleased as punch. One of their few remaining flavors of actual ice cream is holding on for dear life. And the Bon Appetit endorsement has continued to mislead consumers that their beloved brand from years past is still making a superior product.

Well, I guess Breyers isn’t the only brand that’s a shadow of its former self.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. July 30, 2015 12:31 pm

    ugh! why are people so vain when it comes to food….food should be about nourishing and tasting delicious not just about looking good. Some of the most delicious food out there is not all that “beautiful”. Last i checked you can make ice cream at home without tara or guar gum and it tastes much better. I’m with you, Bon Appetit made the wrong call :-/

  2. July 30, 2015 6:23 pm

    Nice sleuthing profusser.

  3. July 31, 2015 1:17 am

    I scream,
    You scream,
    We all scream,
    for …. Frozen Dairy Dessert?

  4. July 31, 2015 9:39 pm

    I am conflicted

  5. Annie permalink
    August 1, 2015 8:37 pm

    So disappointing. I LOVED Breyers Vanilla, back in the 80’s. Had a bowl everyday in the last 2 months of my first pregnancy. (And yes, the son loves ice cream). It was cream, milk, vanilla bean… Now? Frozen dessert. Ugh.

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