A Which? investigation of supermarket and branded vanilla ice creams has found a number that contain no vanilla, no cream, and no fresh milk.
One in five of the ice creams examined by Which? contained none of the three ingredients shoppers might reasonably expect to find in vanilla ice cream.
Only half of the 24 ice creams contained all three of the traditional ingredients. The remaining products contained only some, or none of the ingredients.
Of the five products with no vanilla, cream or fresh milk in them, the only ice cream that wasn’t a supermarket own-label brand was Wall’s Soft Scoop Vanilla Ice Cream – claimed by Wall’s to be the “number one soft scoop brand”.
The other ice creams containing none of the three ingredients were Soft ScoopVanilla Ice Cream from Asda, Morrisons, Tesco, and Ms Molly’s – a brand exclusively sold at Tesco.
Traditionally, vanilla ice cream is made from a few simple ingredients: fresh milk, cream, egg yolks, sugar and vanilla. These ingredients are frozen and aerated to make ice cream.
However, in a number of the products we looked at, cream and milk were substituted with partially reconstituted dried skimmed milk, and in some cases, whey protein. Meanwhile, vanilla was often replaced with a general ‘flavouring’.
Additional non-dairy ingredients in some of the ice creams included palm oil, coconut oil, palm kernel oil, and water.
Until 2015, a product labelled “ice cream” in the UK had to contain at least 5% dairy fat and 2.5% milk protein. However, since the introduction of the Food Information Regulations in 2015, these rules no longer apply.
The removal of these fixed criteria was to enable more flexibility in regards to reformulation and product innovation. This has allowed for vegan products, or reduced fat ice creams – such as Halo Top or Ben and Jerry’s Moo-phoria Light Ice Cream, to be sold as ice creams.
Whilst this has successfully created a new market of ice creams to suit a broader range of tastes, the removal of the original regulations have also allowed cheaper ingredients to replace those used in traditional recipes.
As such, there are currently no requirements for manufacturers to meet before a product can be called “ice cream”. Now, only products labelled as “dairy ice cream” must contain at least 5% dairy fat, some protein from a dairy source, and no vegetable fats.
A Which? spokesperson said:
“Shoppers may be surprised to find out that the vanilla ice creams available to buy in supermarkets can vary wildly in terms of the ingredients they contain.
“For those looking for a more authentic ice cream or trying to avoid controversial ingredients such as palm oil, our advice is to check the ingredients list, and look for these three key ingredients – natural vanilla, dairy cream, and fresh milk.”
Full table of products:
|Brand||Product name||Cream?||Fresh Milk?||Vanilla?|
|Asda||Vanilla Soft Scoop Ice Cream||n||n||n|
|Asda||Soft scoop Cornish Vanilla Ice Cream||y||y||n|
|Asda||Extra Special Madagascan Vanilla Ice Cream||y||y||y|
|Beechdean||Farmhouse Dairy Ice Cream Vanilla||y||y||y|
|Ben & Jerry’s||Vanilla Ice Cream||y||y||y|
|Carte D’Or||Vanilla Ice Cream||n||n||y|
|Green & Blacks||Organic Vanilla Ice Cream||y||y||y|
|Haagen-Daaz||Vanilla Ice Cream||y||y||y|
|Jude’s||Very Vanilla Ice Cream||y||y||y|
|Kelly’s of Cornwall||Dairy Vanilla Cornish Ice Cream||y||y||y|
|Ms Molly’s||Soft Scoop Vanilla Ice Cream||n||n||n|
|Morrisons||Soft Scoop Vanilla Ice Cream||n||n||n|
|Morrisons||Vanilla Ice Cream||n||n||y|
|Movenpick||Vanilla Dream Ice Cream||y||y||y|
|Rossi ice Cream||Vanilla Ice Cream||y||y||y|
|Sainsbury’s||Vanilla Soft Scoop Ice Cream||n||y||n|
|Sainsbury’s||Vanilla Ice Cream||n||y||y|
|Sainsbury’s||TTD Madagascan Vanilla Ice Cream||y||y||y|
|Tesco||Vanilla Ice Cream||n||n||y|
|Tesco||Soft Scoop Vanilla Ice Cream||n||n||n|
|Wall’s||Soft Scoop Vanilla Ice Cream||n||n||n|
|Wall’s||Cream of Cornish Vanilla Dairy Ice Cream||y||n||y|
|Waitrose||Vanilla Dairy Ice Cream||y||y||y|
|Yeo Valley||Organic Vanilla Ice Cream||y||y||y|
Notes to editors:
- Which? investigated the ingredients of 24 different vanilla ice creams available to purchase in UK supermarkets, finding that 5 of the 24 contained no vanilla, no cream, and no fresh milk.
- Reconstituted dried milk and whey protein both count towards the required dairy protein in ice cream products.
- All pack information is correct as of August 10th 2018.