HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >
Do you create unique foods?
TELL US

have you noticed ben & jerry's quality going downhill? espcially the classic flavors?

t
tastycakes Jun 6, 2011 03:42 PM

i had some chocolate fudge brownie today (purchased a pint at ralph's), and it was awful. not creamy, not chocolatey, and the brownies were hard, chalky, and dry. i was so disappointed. i haven't eaten it in years, so honestly maybe i remember it as being better than it was.

  1. v
    virtualguthrie Aug 31, 2013 02:08 PM

    I definitely thing the quality has gone downhill and every new flavor they come out with has cake bits or waffle cone bits or some other WTF component that makes an otherwise potentially appealing flavor well... not.
    Less gimmicks please.

    1. s
      susann Aug 30, 2013 06:31 PM

      I thought so too initially, but its actually the stores issue, not the ice cream. In the past few weeks I had Ben and Jerry Cherry Garcia from two different stores - one was great, and one is vile - barely touched and still in the freezer. The chalky taste and ice crystals/bad texture means that the store let it thaw then refreeze while stocking and/or their freezers are not doing the job. Its not a product issue, its storage. Thawing and refreezing ice cream really wrecks it. The ice cream itself is still good. I stick to the same old school favours so I can't vouch for the taste of any new stuff. But the quality of the ice cream itself is the same as it was. Just don't buy from Ralphs I guess. (The bad refrozen pint I bought was Ralphs handiwork)

      1 Reply
      1. re: susann
        h
        Hue Sep 1, 2013 05:09 PM

        Once upon a time B & J was delivered via direct store delivery(DSD) where the distributor or manufacturer were responsible for product freshness, quality etc.
        Unilever moved B & J to a warehouse distribution system where store personnel were responsible for those issues.
        The attention to these factors were lost when stores become responsible. Ice cream is a very fragile product and defrosting and refreezing creates the ice crystals. The key to great or good ice cream is controlling the water in the product, The less times the water defrosts and refreezes the better the quality

      2. a
        annie27 Aug 17, 2013 04:54 PM

        Awful! Bought Cherry Garcia bars, which no longer come in a box, so they were smashed, had melted, and re-frozen. They were sold to me mushed and completely destroyed (how can you see through an aluminum foil wrapper?).

        The ice cream was grainy, not creamy. The flavor was thin and left an aftertaste suggesting it was not real ice cream.

        Sad and disgusted. I loved Ben and Jerry's and knew I could rely on them for decent, delicious ice cream. No longer. Big boo hoo!!

        1. iL Divo Feb 19, 2012 02:39 PM

          like you tastycakes, I haven't eaten it in years.
          I see it there as I'm buying for my husband but never wanted to go through all their various flavors for him to try and then never be able to return to regular store bought ice cream. plus, I love their Cherries Garcia and he'd never go for that so it'd be all me to devour the entire lot by myself. the jeans'd never fit again..........

          so although I can't answer that about it going south so to speak, I will try it one day soon and I'll treat the husband to a flavor I know he'd like and I'll tell him it was an experiment. ;:~/

          2 Replies
          1. re: iL Divo
            p
            Pinkous6 Feb 19, 2012 03:24 PM

            Cherry Garcia is no longer what you remember. I know, it was the first one I tried after a long abstinence......

            1. re: Pinkous6
              l
              LynneLynne Feb 19, 2012 06:24 PM

              I stopped eating B & J when I read they considered using human breast milk. I wrote them and asked if they would test the women for diseases. (no response)

          2. Stephanie Wong Feb 19, 2012 02:00 PM

            Part of the reason might be Ben & Jerry's was acquired by Unilever in 2000. The flavor gurus & number crunchers are now different from those at the B&J we once knew & loved.

            http://www.unilever.co.uk/brands/food...

            4 Replies
            1. re: Stephanie Wong
              p
              Pinkous6 Feb 19, 2012 03:25 PM

              You are so right, Ben & Jerry 's is gone!

              1. re: Stephanie Wong
                u
                uwsister Mar 8, 2012 01:07 PM

                Actually that's not true. Yes, it is true that Ben & Jerry was acquired by Unilever, but the flavor gurus are mostly the same people who have been with the company for decades, way before the acquisition. A friend of mine works for the company, and according to him, there were relatively few changes in regards to personnel after the acquisition.

                I'm more of a Haagen-Dazs girl, so I don't know if B&J's gone downhill or not - but the acquisition didn't totally change the company.

                1. re: uwsister
                  Karl S Mar 8, 2012 01:25 PM

                  It was the cost of commodities that probably did, driving the use of lower quality ingredients.

                  1. re: Karl S
                    u
                    uwsister Mar 8, 2012 03:48 PM

                    Yeah, that I don't doubt - I was just pointing out that the change wasn't great personnel-wise.

              2. janethepain Feb 19, 2012 10:51 AM

                Has anyone else noticed that there's way more air in B&J's now? It used to be much more dense, but now it scoops easily and it's more "fluffy." Same happened with Haagen Dazs a while ago, it used to be hard to even get your spoon in there but now it's fluffy, too.

                I was so disappointed with Late Night Snack - sounds great, but the potato chips don't hold up well in ice cream. They were more like choco-covered soggy lumps.

                1. p
                  Pinkous6 Feb 18, 2012 08:56 PM

                  Ben &jerrys ice cream is absolutely terrible now! I thought my taste buds had gone bad, since I hand't had their ice cream in about 5 years. But now that I have read others reviews, I realize it is not me. I tried 3 different classic flavors, and could barely get through a few bites to realize, yuck! Just as well I guess, wish I had my $5.29 per pint back though.......

                  1. p
                    phre2b Aug 24, 2011 06:50 PM

                    Argh! Yes. Um, please don't let the MBA's water down EVERYthing in this country. No question. The "brownie" in chocolate fudge brownie warrants the new moniker: "guar gum starch biscuit"
                    Mmmmmm, this Breyer's sure is good, though. : )

                    1. j
                      joe777cool Jun 12, 2011 05:57 AM

                      In a late night splurge a month ago, my SO bought a pint of the red velvet, took 3 bites and it has sat untouched in hte freezer ever since. She said it tasted very "artificial."

                      Very saddened to hear of a decline, my father took me to the factory as a kid and I taken my SO twice since we started dating. Many fond memories.

                      1. a
                        annie137 Jun 11, 2011 07:10 PM

                        Yes! I forget which flavor it was, but it had a grainy, icy texture. I read the label and one of the ingredients was water! Water! In ice cream!

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: annie137
                          LoBrauHouseFrau Jun 12, 2011 05:23 AM

                          The water may have been an ingredient in one of the mix-ins and not actually the ice cream itself.

                        2. Cheese Boy Jun 11, 2011 11:37 AM

                          Tried the new Clusterfluff flavor and was pleasantly surprised. If you like peanut butter, you should definitely give this one a whirl. I made mine melt to where it was an almost shake-like consistency before devouring most of it. Smooth, not chalky. http://www.benjerry.com/flavors/our-f...

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: Cheese Boy
                            mrsbuffer Jun 11, 2011 06:58 PM

                            Yeah, I really liked Clusterfluff, too. I was surprised, b/c I tried some drek maple flavor crap and it was awful. However, my old standby, New York Super Fudge Chunk, never lets me down.

                            1. re: Cheese Boy
                              c
                              Cachetes Jun 12, 2011 06:20 AM

                              Oh, this must be tried. I'll give Ben and Jerry's one more go, just to try this! I haven't seen it yet.

                            2. c
                              Cachetes Jun 11, 2011 05:59 AM

                              So, prompted by your comments and a lingering nostalgia for Ben & Jerry's from my college days (where my college had a permanent cooler of it in the dining hall), I bought some this evening. Unfortunately, I have to agree with you. I bought strawberry cheesecake, which might have been my first mistake. The biggest issue wasn't the flavor but rather the texture which, for lack of a better word, was chalky. The entire thing just had a chalky feel in my mouth. I should have remembered that you can never go back...

                              1. c
                                chocolatetartguy Jun 8, 2011 06:15 PM

                                I don't know about that. The Peach Cobbler flavor is still great. They seem to have a lot of new, intriguing flavors: Red Velvet Cake - so so, Late Night - with salty potato chips embedded, a pineapple sorbet with passion fruit swirl.

                                1. l
                                  localfoodrules Jun 8, 2011 04:48 PM

                                  LIke everyone else, they are probably using hfcs instead of sugar.

                                  Here is a pretty comprehensive list
                                  http://www.foodsprout.com/product/fru...

                                  10 Replies
                                  1. re: localfoodrules
                                    paulj Jun 8, 2011 10:58 PM

                                    Is the foodsprout list accurate? I checked on the B&J site and did not find HFCS in Cherry Garcia.

                                    1. re: paulj
                                      Karl S Jun 9, 2011 05:27 AM

                                      One of my objections to find in premium ice cream is the various binding agents (guar, carageenan, et cet.), which are a sign of cheapening out on your dairy products and/or your manufacturing process. Really premium ice cream should not need such things.

                                      1. re: Karl S
                                        e
                                        ediblover Jun 9, 2011 03:27 PM

                                        Breyers Ice Cream has all natural products.

                                        Some of the highest regarded restaurants in the world are heavy with processing and agents.

                                        Being natural doesn't mean it's good. Adding/altering doesn't mean it's bad.

                                        1. re: ediblover
                                          Karl S Jun 9, 2011 04:06 PM

                                          The gum products I mentioned are "natural"; they are, in ice cream, merely "natural" crap. Whether they are in Breyer's or B&J's. Still crap. If Tom Keller uses them for ice cream at his restaurant: still crap unless you're paying Breyer's level prices for it....

                                          1. re: Karl S
                                            e
                                            ediblover Jun 11, 2011 03:32 AM

                                            And they're crap, because? They're in there to improve/maintain textures, so how does that make it bad? If a starch, fat or anything is added to improve the texture of a sauce, basically anything outside of a basic reduction, does it make the sauce crap, even if it makes it better?

                                            And, we get to the big one in molecular gastronomy and all its additives, which is basically the same thing as the ice cream situation, that seek to change the texture of the foods to an extreme degree.

                                            Why is it crap?

                                            1. re: ediblover
                                              Karl S Jun 11, 2011 07:05 AM

                                              Ice cream from fine quality dairy doesn't need gums or other texture stabilizers, if made well. Cream, maybe milk, sugar, maybe egg, a little salt and flavor. The need for those other things indicates the likely use of shelf-stabilized dairy or other processes.

                                              Crap.

                                              B&J is not Ferran Adria.

                                              1. re: Karl S
                                                e
                                                ediblover Jun 11, 2011 07:46 AM

                                                A good point.

                                                Still, I view it more from the end point. That is, I want flavor x and texture y. As long as you get me x and y, I'm good.

                                                1. re: ediblover
                                                  Karl S Jun 11, 2011 07:58 AM

                                                  Ok. Just don't treat as if it were a premium product, because it's not from an ingredient and production end. '

                                                  Listen, I am very fond of Friendly's rainbow sherbet, which has some of this crap in it. But I don't treat it as a premium product, nor would I pay a premium price for it. I buy it for $3 at Market Basket; I would not pay the $9 equivalent it would be if it were B&J.

                                                  Dirty little secret about ordinary sherbet: it has much less overrun than middle-market ice cream. It's better value.

                                                  1. re: Karl S
                                                    e
                                                    ediblover Jun 11, 2011 03:12 PM

                                                    We all make choices in that regard. A lot of times (not thinking ice cream, but mixes for baking and drinks come to mind), premium products are used, but the creators just want another texture, so they add something. I don't view it as, "We're trying to duplicate something," but more as, "We're trying to make it, we think, better."

                                                    The same goes the other way too. A product may use the best ingredients, but if the end product isn't to my liking, I sure as hell ain't going to pay top dollar, despite the stuff that went into it.

                                      2. re: paulj
                                        goodhealthgourmet Jun 11, 2011 07:59 PM

                                        Is the foodsprout list accurate? I checked on the B&J site and did not find HFCS in Cherry Garcia.
                                        ~~~~~~~~
                                        they removed HFCS from all their products in early- to mid-2010, so that list/link must be outdated.

                                    2. e
                                      ediblover Jun 7, 2011 02:20 PM

                                      Though I only treat myself on rare occasions, I haven't noticed any decline from B&J. In fact, they're one of the companies I actually trust to maintain a good standard.

                                      As for all the bashing, B&J follows fair trade, runs a foundation, and everything else hippie related. So, if you consider them to be just another company, well...

                                      1. twyst Jun 7, 2011 01:41 PM

                                        Hasnt been good in at least 5 years.

                                        1. Karl S Jun 7, 2011 01:00 PM

                                          It's been downhill for years; I don't consider it a premium brand. Most flavors are full of crap. But the brand lives on in consumer memory due to a long half-life established when it was better.

                                          1. arashall Jun 7, 2011 12:08 PM

                                            Glad to know others think the same thing, and I'm not just imagining the drop in quality. Always seems to happen with sell-outs.

                                            1. i
                                              italia84 Jun 7, 2011 12:05 PM

                                              yeah, and there doesn't seem to be as much "stuff" in it either. I don't buy it...

                                              1. z
                                                zfalcon Jun 6, 2011 04:22 PM

                                                Ben & Jerry's has been bad ever since they sold to Unilever. The ingredient lists now have all sorts of crap in it.

                                                6 Replies
                                                1. re: zfalcon
                                                  a
                                                  Avalondaughter Jun 7, 2011 01:38 PM

                                                  Remember how they used to do those commercials about how they were two "real guys" and that they were just Ben and Jerry and not one of those "conglomerates eating conglomerates". They turned into everything they used to stand against and quality suffered.

                                                  1. re: zfalcon
                                                    Jay F Jun 7, 2011 02:44 PM

                                                    Ben & Jerry's has ALWAYS had crap in it (guar gum, carageenan, etc.) Oh, and I loved the Boston Cream Pie flavor.

                                                    1. re: Jay F
                                                      Kitchen Imp Feb 19, 2012 03:38 PM

                                                      Guar gum and carrageenan are naturally occurring thickeners (made from beans and seaweed, respectively). While I agree that they have no business being in ice cream, they're not preservatives or otherwise nasty:
                                                      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guar_gum
                                                      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carrageenan

                                                      That said, I totally agree that B&J has gone way, way downhill. They're nothing like they were in the late 80s/early 90s, back when the ingredients list was usually fewer than five or six items long and included only the basic ingredients you'd expect to see. Now they're no different from any other mass-produced "good" ice cream.

                                                      1. re: Kitchen Imp
                                                        Karl S Feb 19, 2012 03:42 PM

                                                        Gums et cet are typically added to ultra-pasteurized cream, because the UP process commonly used in the US dairy industry denatures cream. UP creams have a longer shelf life and are cheaper. They also have less flavor. Not premium eats, but cheap eats, as it were.

                                                        1. re: Karl S
                                                          Kitchen Imp Feb 19, 2012 06:04 PM

                                                          Thanks for this - I'd always wondered why they're needed in cream (since presumably cream is thick already). Interesting!

                                                    2. re: zfalcon
                                                      n
                                                      Nanzi Aug 31, 2013 08:01 AM

                                                      I was sure it had sold out to someone, but did not know who. What a shame companies buy a great company and dumb it down with cheapo tactics.

                                                    3. LoBrauHouseFrau Jun 6, 2011 04:19 PM

                                                      I had a pint of chocolate fudge brownie last month that was pretty bad, but I thought it had something to do with a thawing/refreezing issue. There seemed to be lots of ice crystals in the ice cream, and the brownie pieces were hard and dry. I haven't noticed any quality issues with any of the other flavors, including Half Baked which has brownie chunks in it also.

                                                      1. f
                                                        fantasyjoker Jun 6, 2011 04:02 PM

                                                        i haven't had any in years, so i don't know. i do wish they'd bring back totally nuts, though.

                                                        1. a
                                                          Auriana Jun 6, 2011 03:48 PM

                                                          Can't speak for the classic flavors, but I tried their Boston Cream Pie flavor and it was awful.

                                                          4 Replies
                                                          1. re: Auriana
                                                            i
                                                            Isolda Jun 6, 2011 05:23 PM

                                                            Ugh, yes, that was really awful. Fake cake, bad texture and a lot of non-natural flavors. I hate to throw out such an expensive pint, but that's what I did.

                                                            1. re: Auriana
                                                              u
                                                              uwsister Jun 7, 2011 12:15 AM

                                                              Boston Cream Pie was indeed awful. I was so disappointed, being such a big fan of BCP (as a cake.) I was also disappointed with Red Velvet and Cheesecake Brownie. Maple Blondie was only OK. The last good "new" flavor was Cinnamon Buns, IMO.

                                                              Anybody tried Bonnaroo Buzz?
                                                              (Yeah, I'm an ice cream addict.)

                                                              1. re: uwsister
                                                                u
                                                                uwsister Jun 7, 2011 11:51 AM

                                                                Answered my own question - mediocre.

                                                                1. re: uwsister
                                                                  MandalayVA Jun 12, 2011 06:09 AM

                                                                  I don't eat ice cream very often but I got super-excited when I saw the Boston Cream Pie flavor since like you I adore it as a cake. I'm glad I'm not the only one who thought it was terrible. And I have to disagree with you about Cinnamon Buns, I had that a couple of years ago and was like "ew." The only B&J flavor I enjoy (on rare occasions) is the Vermont Peach Cobbler, mainly because peach ice cream of any stripe is getting increasingly rare.

                                                              Show Hidden Posts