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Breyer's Now Has HFCS

Didn't Breyer's ice cream start out with only four simple ingredients; Milk, sugar, eggs, cream? I may be missing something. But I recall my parents revering Breyer's for its lack of "unnatural" ingredients. So it is with some confusion and dismay that they now use HFCS. Häagen-Dazs as well although I can't recall if HD ever used sugar only.

Anyone else find this...kind of a let down?

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  1. You have to read the label carefully. Their ice-cream is all natural, their "frozen dessert product" is not. I bought a wacky flavor variety once and couldnt believe how much junk was in it, but on the front it said "frozen dessert product". I felt somewhat bamboozled. Their ice cream however is still all natural from what I understand, and does not have hfcs.

    5 Replies
    1. re: olyolyy

      Breyer's Vanilla has the following ingredients


      In addition, Breyer's has a number of other lines (low/no fat, lactose free, etc.) that substitute other ingredients for cream, etc. I checked a few flavors and saw some with added corn syrup, but none with HFCS (not to say that it's not in one or more of the hundred or so combinations on the website, but in my brief search I didn't see any that had it).

      1. re: olyolyy

        Really. To quote Nicholson in A Few Good Men,
        "don't I feel like a f***ing a--h---."

        Will have to pay more attention when looking in the ice cream section. Thank you.


          1. re: olyolyy

            I remember the last time I bought Breyer's I was flabergasted by the ingredients list, as I too remembered those all natural claims. Haven't purchased in since.

            I thought it was vanilla, but maybe I had one of those funky flavours. I'll have to check next time I'm at the store.

            (Also, I seem to remember Breyer's being the most expensive brand when I was a kid. Mom always got Pet or store brand. Now Breyer's seems to be the cheapest of the name brands. I figured that had something to do with the ingredients I was looking at.)

          2. I don't know how long ago you are referring to, but very little mass market ice cream is made from the simple ingredients one would traditionally used at home. At a minimum, there's a lot of use of gums (which are not "unnatural" but not exactly traditionally used to make ice cream) to compensate for the fact that ultra-pasteurized cream is now commonly used (ultra pasteurization is great for extending shelf life but decreases flavor and compromises texture), and a lot of flavor enhancers, and of course corn syrup to reduce crystallization (as well as HFCS). Read. Read. Read.

            Basically, traditional ingredients on a mass-market scale raises the price point and involves higher risk to texture when kept in long storage; consumers are used to a certain price point, and the kind of mouthfeel produced by less traditional ingredients.

            1. With Breyer's you have to pay close attention. Many products are still ice cream with a fairly limited ingredient list (e.g. natural vanilla, mint chocolate chip, creamy chocolate), however many if not most of their flavors are now "frozen dairy dessert" and do not meet the FDA standards to be classified as ice cream. While I do eat a few of these on occasion, the difference is quite noticeable-the frozen dairy dessert is much less creamy and has an odd frothy texture and seems to melt by the time you sit down to eat the product.

              1. I remember when they started using tara gum. I could tell the difference without previous knowledge. It was perfectly obvious on the second bite. It went from decent, if full of air, to scheiss in one movement.

                I'm so glad for you, Breyers, that your ice cream re-freezes better. But it will never defrost because I held my grocer's freezer open too long.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Jay F

                  Ahh, is that the other difference that I notice. While the ice cream flavors are superior to the frozen dairy dessert the texture still seems different and the list of 4 ingredients often includes tara gum but I thought that was a pretty routine thickener in ice cream.

                2. My new carton of plain vanilla Haagen-Dazs does not have HFCS; however, I saw the other day that their new gelato line does. Sad.

                  21 Replies
                  1. re: sandylc

                    It contains corn syrup, that's a different product than HFCS. Corn syrup is essentially liquid glucose and it has been used in candy-making and baking for over a century primarily for its textural properties. HFCS is the somewhat controversial sweetener.

                    1. re: ferret

                      Just checked their website - you are right! Thanks for catching that....very important......

                      1. re: sandylc

                        Corn syrup is used in frozen confections to prevent crystallization that would occur if granulated sugar alone were otherwise used.

                        1. re: Karl S

                          Yes, it is. But regular HD manages just fine with sugar.

                          1. re: sandylc

                            As does Breyers in its regular ice cream flavors. They only add corn syrup when they reduce the cream content in their non-ice-cream varieties to maintain texture.

                            1. re: sandylc

                              now if Nestle could manage to be a less reprehensible company, I could enjoy HD again

                                  1. re: meatnveg

                                    One of playwright Jon Robin Baitz' first plays was about the baby formula scandal at Nestle, for whom his father worked in Africa.

                      2. re: sandylc

                        I recall the days (late 70s/ early 80s) when the craze was to keep your kids from sugar at all costs. As a kid back then, I was thrilled when my mother found the Haagen-Dazs Honey Vanilla and the only sweetner was actual honey! I was actually allowed to eat ice cream again.

                        1. re: AuntieSocial1

                          Because calories from honey were better than calories from sugar?

                          1. re: ferret

                            Ha, no. Not a weight related issue, but there was a popular late 70s diet my mother put us on that completely excluded white sugar and preservatives and anything with acid in it, including tomatoes. Made for real fun when we would go out for pizza night and had to order with no sauce, yet ironically were able to eat the crust made with white flour.

                            1. re: AuntieSocial1

                              Pizza and ice cream were 90% of my diet in the 70's.

                              1. re: ferret

                                Well pizza and vodka make up 90% of my diet now! LOL

                                Back to the original topic, Natural Vanilla Bean by Breyers is still good, but not quite as good as I remember.

                                1. re: AuntieSocial1

                                  I agree, love the Breyers Natural Vanilla Bean and it's been my go to for vanilla ice cream.

                                  1. re: fldhkybnva

                                    And that didn't change for you when they added tara gum?

                                    1. re: Jay F

                                      The texture seems somewhat different, but hasn't nearly suffered as much as the other flavors and doesn't have the same melt too quickly, frothy texture as the others. I probably could have found a better variety after the addiction of tara gum but have just stuck with Breyer's, but this thread gives me a lot of new things to try. If only I could get my hands on Blue Bell.

                                      1. re: sandylc

                                        Just plain nasty, Breyers now.

                                      2. re: fldhkybnva

                                        Breyer's Natural Vanilla has been my favorite for years.
                                        I am sorely disappointed in myself for misreading which styles have HFCS. It's back to Breyer's ice cream I go.

                                2. re: ferret

                                  because fads beat logic every time

                            2. Breyer's was a Philadelphia institution and the only ice cream in our house and those of both grandparents. My dad was an organic chemist and food technologist who consulted to Breyer's over the years when they had the production facility in South Philly with its huge neon sign you could see from the expressway. I do recall the label reading "all natural ingredients" and dad touting this as a mark of quality.

                              I well remember dad once sending me into our local drug store with a "walking liberty" half dollar and returning to the car with a full half gallon of Breyer's - and a penny change (1958 or so?).

                              I also remember when their peach ice cream was seasonal and eagerly anticipated around the Fourth of July. Oh, how times (and recipes) change.

                              1. I am not all that into HFCS, but isn't HFCS a natural product really? Fructose is natural, glucose is natural. You mix them together, and they are two natural ingredients.

                                How is sucrose (better known as cane sugar) is natural, but fructose (aka fruit sugar) is un-natural?

                                I think majority of Breyer's Ice Creams are still made with sucrose.

                                15 Replies
                                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                  There is mixed evidence, but some studies have shown a link between HFCS and the metabolic syndrome although the mechanisms proposed vary.

                                  1. re: fldhkybnva

                                    < some studies have shown a link between HFCS and the metabolic syndrome >

                                    I am not debating on its metabolic effect. I am just saying that isn't HFCS a natural product? Snake venom may be bad for you, but snake venom is natural.

                                    The original post is stating that Beyer's is using an unnatural product by using HFCS, and I am not sure if I agree with this assertion.

                                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                      The original post is also in error as they're using corn syrup and not HFCS.

                                      1. re: ferret

                                        Yes my apologies for the error--I put the "ass" in "embarassing" with this gaffe.

                                  2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                    How do you define natural? Corn is natural, but what do you call it after the complex processing of enzyme conversions, carbon adsorption to remove impurities, filtration, ionic exchange, etc. Crude oil comes up from the ground, is that natural? What about the chemicals that you can get after a bit of processing?

                                    1. re: firecooked

                                      That's a huge topic, and one that always gets opened up in these types of conversations. I guess that technically, anything on planet Earth could be called natural. But usually people know what we are all talking about when we use the word "natural".

                                      1. re: firecooked

                                        <How do you define natural? Corn is natural, but what do you call it after the complex processing of enzyme conversions, carbon adsorption to remove impurities, filtration, ionic exchange, etc.>

                                        Well, it is about being consistent more than anything. Yes, you are more than welcome to say HFCS is not natural because it involves human process, but if we go by that definition, then the white cane sugar is also processed. It would be inconsistent if we can call HFCS as being unnatural, and in the same breath claims white cane sugar is natural or that the homogenized milk we used is natural. In fact, the whole notion of "ice cream" is more unnatural than HFCS. What is so natural about mixing milk, cream, eggs and sugar and then freeze them together.

                                        Keep in mind that HFCS is comprised of glucose and fructose. Both of which are found in nature in great abundance. Fructose is known as fruit sugar. It is as nature as it can get. Glucose is essential for human and many organisms. The fact that our insulin responds to glucose says it all.

                                        In a typical definition, natural chemicals are considered natural, like sucrose or glucose or fructose, and synthetic chemicals like artificial sweeteners, like Aspartame, are unnatural. Aspartame, for example, cannot be found in nature, and is made by human.

                                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                          What about vanillin? The synthesized chemical is exactly the same as the main chemical component in vanilla, but I would consider vanillin an artificial (i.e. not natural) flavor even though vanillin exists in nature.

                                          Unfortunately, there is no universal definition of natural (which the food companies take great advantage of). For me, anything that goes through complex processes that remove impurities, and fundamentally change the nature of the food would be considered unnatural. So, refined white sugar would push the definition of natural (which is why I use raw sugar). Fresh squeezed juice would be natural (simple separation of pulp).

                                          Adding components together, adding air, cooking, freezing, would meet my definition of natural... yes, you are changing the proteins when you cook them (or whip them), but I see this as more natural than enzyme conversions and impurity removal. It would be nice to have a universally agreed definition for natural!

                                          1. re: firecooked

                                            < The synthesized chemical is exactly the same as the main chemical component in vanilla>

                                            If the synthesized chemical is the same, then it is a natural chemical. Now, you can say the vanilla bottle you bought is an artificial product because it misses all the other components, but I don't think you can say the chemical: Vanillin is unnatural.


                                            <ut I see this as more natural than enzyme conversions and impurity removal>

                                            What is so bad about enzymatic conversion? Our digestion system is all about enzymatic conversion, and wine and all kind of fermentation like soy sauce, yogurt....etc.

                                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                              Speaking of enzymes, I just read this interesting bit about dogs and humans - we both have genes that help us convert starches to simple sugars. Humans have extra genes (compared to chimps) for producing the enzyme amylase in our saliva. Dogs have extra genes, compared to wolves, for pancreatic amylase.


                                              Amylase is also involved in make bread (especially sour dough) and beer.

                                              1. re: paulj

                                                Hmmm.... this may further push the idea that human and dogs have co-evolute together. for a long long time.

                                                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                  The fascinating thing about dogs is how quickly they have evolved into so many diverse breeds.

                                                  1. re: sandylc

                                                    I remember watching one of those documentary films on Netflix) that dogs gene allows them to very easily changed, which is more difficult for other domestic animals. Yeah, you are right. Although dogs have co-evolved with human for a long time. Most of the dog breads were boomed from the last 300-400 years alone.

                                      2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                        I'm trying to remember this from chemistry class, so bear with me.

                                        Corn syrup = natural. HFCS = corn syrup + processes to convert some of the glucose into fructose because the later is sweeter.

                                        I wouldn't call HFCS "unnatural", per se. The problem with it is that your body has systems to regulate the intake of sucrose, but not fructose. So sucrose won't cause a spike in blood sugar but fructose will.

                                        That's my understanding, at least.

                                        1. re: Kontxesi

                                          < HFCS = corn syrup + processes to convert some of the glucose into fructose because the later is sweeter.>

                                          I think you are right. Both glucose and fructose are sweet of course, but supposedly a balance of glucose and fructose is needed to have a more similar sweetening flavor as cane sugar.

                                          <The problem with it is that your body has systems to regulate the intake of sucrose, but not fructose. >

                                          I don't think this is true, but I am willing to listen if you or others have more to share. Sucrose (cane sugar) is a disaccharide composed of one glucose and one fructose. Upon entering our bodies, sucrose very quickly converts to glucose and fructose. So it would really surprise me that our body can regulate sucrose, but not fructose since sucrose turns into fructose.

                                          See the top reaction:


                                          <So sucrose won't cause a spike in blood sugar but fructose will.>

                                          Blood sugar usually refers to glucose level. In such case, sucrose is the one which woill cause a spike in glucose, but fructose won't.

                                          "A blood glucose test measures the amount of a type of sugar, called glucose, in your blood."


                                      3. From the Breyer's website:

                                        Breyer's Natural Vanilla: MILK, CREAM, SUGAR, TARA GUM, NATURAL FLAVOR.;

                                        -I don't see corn syrup of any kind here (although some of the more flavored-up varietie might have it)

                                        -I don't want gums in my ice cream - the texture is unpleasant

                                        -"natural flavor" is NOT the same thing as vanilla extract; so this "natural vanilla" ice cream has **NO VANILLA AT ALL*** in it - !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                        -interesting that there are no eggs....probably the reason for the gum

                                        Even if I could get past the fluffy air and the gumminess, I want VANILLA in my VANILLA ice cream.

                                        12 Replies
                                        1. re: sandylc

                                          Vanilla is too expensive, non?

                                          There are so many "natural flavors" in products nowadays. Makes me miss the actual ingredients.

                                          1. re: globocity

                                            I almost hate to mention this one, but anyone who wants to youtube it can....here goes:

                                            There was a 60 Minutes episode that researched how "natural flavors" are made - in the laboratory, of course. One of the common ingredients for "natural" vanilla flavor was from the anal gland of the beaver.

                                            So long as the "flavor" is obtained from a "natural" source, it can be called "natural --------flavor" on the ingredients list.

                                            Our ingredients label legislation needs to be improved.

                                          2. re: sandylc

                                            Sandy, Breyer's Vanilla ice cream with eggs is their French Vanilla. Unfortunately, it's got gum up its ass, too.

                                            1. re: Jay F

                                              Gotta hate gum-ass. Only slightly better than beaver-butt.

                                              Did I say that? Such a lady.

                                              1. re: Jay F

                                                Bought some of their French Vanilla today. It was cheaper than Blue Bell, and I figured,"Gee, it must be comparable in quality." Wrong. Fortunately there was also salted caramel sauce in the bowl.

                                              2. re: sandylc

                                                Any favorite vanillas other than Haagen Daaz? Breyer's has been the family vanilla for so long, I'd like to meet real vanilla ice cream again.

                                                    1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                      'Round these parts, Target has the best price.

                                                      1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                        The good thing is that, at least for me, when it's really good like Haagen-Dazs, a smaller serving is very satisfying.

                                                    2. re: fldhkybnva

                                                      Do you have a Costco membership/live near one? The Kirkland Super Premium vanilla ice cream is amazing. I personally think it tastes just like Haagen-Dazs, but the price can't be beat. They only sell it in big packs, but it lasts in the freezer (if you have the space) just fine, even if you don't eat the ice cream every day. I can't remember the ingredient list, but I remember it being fairly simple, similar to Haagen. There's been a fair amount of talk on these boards about the Kirkland ice cream, if you look it up in the favorite Costco items thread, I'm sure you'll find some comments.

                                                      If not, I look out for Haagen-Dazs sales as much as I can. I no longer have the access to Costco that I did before, so I've had to switch to Haagen-Dazs from the grocery store, but I just keep my eye on the circulars. Every few weeks or so where I live they price it down so you can buy two for the price of one. Then I buy several. I only eat Haagen-Dazs because nothing else seems worth the calories anymore (until I can get my hands on the Costco ice cream again)!

                                                  1. About a year or so ago, I bought a doppelganger carton of Breyer's vanilla fudge. It looked and scooped differently, but I didn't think much of it. I took a bite and spit it out. Something was wrong. It was no longer ice cream. I grew up with this product, and was disappointed when they added tara gum. It wasn't as good, but ok occasionally. When I looked at the box of what I thought was vanilla fudge ice cream to find that it was Frozen Dairy Dessert and full of stuff I don't call food, I returned it and wrote a letter to the manufacturer. It is Breyer's in name only, and is owned by Unilever, a huge multinational. I told them how they had degraded an honorable name, tried to fool people by using the same looking box, blah blah blah... so they sent me a coupon for a free Breyer's product. One day my grandson wanted chocolate, vanilla and strawberry, which is still an ice cream product, so I got some with the coupon, but I'll never buy their product again. I wish everyone would write to them, and stop buying their inferior product. At least they could have the decency to charge less for the imitation "ice cream".

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: bluealbanyslip

                                                      +1. "Breyer's in Name Only" is a great name for it, bluealbanyslip. It's such total garbage.

                                                    2. The problem with refined sugars in today's marketplace is that they satisfy the craving for sweets too cheaply and abundantly. The same kind of sugar used consciously, in moderation by an individual isn't the same as the overloading of products with sugars, salt and cheap fats to make up for the fresh, perishable,flavorful or more costly ingredients mass marketers don't want to spend money to include. HFCS is cheaper at least partly because of subsidies. It has saturated the food supply, along with outrageous amounts of salt. Our tastes and health are thrown out of kilter when we stray too far from a healthy diet. The details may be different from person to person, but your body will know if you're feeding it well or poorly. A sugary treat now and then may as well be high quality because cheap sweets all the time will cost more added up anyway. The less processed the better. Breyer's used to be my favorite brand because it was made of all real, simple food ingredients at a reasonable price. It was around for about 150 years or so. Money ruins it for the masses again as the multinational takes over each small competitor. Too bad most people are to busy to make ice cream a few times a year.

                                                      4 Replies
                                                      1. re: bluealbanyslip

                                                        <HFCS is cheaper at least partly because of subsidies>

                                                        I like to say also because of tax too. Beside the fact that we subsidize corn. We, Americans, tax cane sugar.

                                                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                          We don't tax sugar, we fix the prices at an artificially high level (to-may-to, to-mah-to).

                                                          1. re: ferret

                                                            <We don't tax sugar, we fix the prices at an artificially high level>

                                                            Yeah, I think you are more accurate. Because sugar itself isn't a great expensive for every households, we don't notice it. We do put up some serious tariffs on cane sugar against other countries.


                                                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                              Well, a lot of candymakers noticed and moved their factories out of the country. Brachs was one of the big ones.

                                                              As an interesting historical footnote, Bill Clinton notoriously interrupted an "act" with Monica Lewinsky to take a call from Alfonso Fanjul, one of the biggest names in US sugar production. Shows how much power sugar interests wield.