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Jul 6, 2013 07:00 AM

Kawartha Dairy ice cream is made with disgusting ingredients now

I posted this originally somewhere else but it didn't seem to draw many responses, but I'm so irritated by it I figured I'd post it here as well


We went to the Apple Factory today (sort of a small farmers market) and was thrilled to see 1.5L containers of many Kawartha Dairy varieties.. We are extremely sick of Moose Tracks in this house now, because it's basically all that Costco sells, so we eagerly snatched up 2 containers of Strawberry today without looking at the ingredient list.

They boast "New container but same old family recipe" on the logo, but this is a load of crap.

As soon as I picked the container out of my freezer after dinner I noticed how weird and squishy the ice cream was (ALWAYS a bad sign in my books; good ice cream should be hard as a rock. When the ice cream is squishy right from the freezer it means it's loaded with air, oil, and other additives). It also has a hideous artificial pink-purple "Pepto Bismol" color to it with no actual fruit pieces whatsoever.

Sure enough, a look at the "new" ingredients reveal loads of horrible things that have no place being in your ice cream:

Let's see here.. 4th ingredient in is glucose, a horrible start. Further down the list finally comes strawberries, after a bunch of modified milk ingredients, but even more frustrating is the load of unpronounceable garbage after that. Mono and Diglicerydes (whatever the hell that is), _4_ different types of "GUM", dextrose (which not even the shadiest of cocaine dealers will cut their product with anymore), WATER (what is water doing in my ice cream??), artificial color (no kidding, take a look at the color of the ice cream), and that's omitting a bunch of other stuff I don't even know anything about. And what the hell are sulphites doing in my ice cream?

Now let's take a look at Haagen Daaz Strawberry ice cream which is definitely my solid, go-to choice that other ice creams should be compared to:

Cream, Strawberries, Skim Milk, Sugar, Egg Yolks

Not only have the morons at Kawartha Dairy changed their packaging to something a lot more commercial, their "family recipe" has most certainly changed as well. It never used to look nor taste like this, and it's just extremely disappointing to see.. These ridiculous ingredients weren't even found in foods back when Kawartha Dairy started up so this was never their family recipe that's for damn sure

Sorry for the rant but I'm just so disappointed in what has become of this once proud Canadian company.. Probably going to sell their souls to the Coca Cola company next.

Please do not buy this crap, it's on the same level as the rest of the generic shit grocery store brands now, and you can definitely tell as soon as you take a taste of it

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  1. I've never found Kawartha to be a particularly pure brand and could never understand the fuss. The first time I spun the box, I was disgusted. That was when they first started selling to 3rd party retailers, what, had to be 12-13 years ago if it was a day. For commercial brands, I stick to Haagen Daaz and Gelato Fresco.

    Now before you call me an ice cream snob, I also used to purchase Breyers All Natural. They were years ahead of the curve in introducing a family-priced, mass-produced, all-natural ice cream. It was pure and delicious. Then they dropped the line. I keep hoping that they end up regretting the decision and reintroducing it. Hey Breyers, you're on-trend now.

    1. A friend raved about this stuff but after having tried it more than once it sure didn't taste like anything special to me. Have you contacted the company? I am curious what their answer to the "same old family recipe" would be.

      After I started making my own ice cream I have definitely come more selective on what type of ice cream I buy.

      23 Replies
      1. re: ylsf

        They do have a helluva marketing strategy though. I'll give 'em credit for that. I don't think I ever saw an ice cream brand rise so fast.

        1. re: Googs

          Why buy anything other than Haagen Dazs? If you look hard enough, it's on special somewhere. Lets not get started on Breyers, they really piss me off because they sell their natural line only in the States and claim there is no market or demand for it in Canada! What a load of crap!

          1. re: callitasicit

            Probably because the average Canadian seems to have no problems or voice any concerns about eating disgusting "frozen desserts" filled with HFCS, oil, and other additives.. Until people start caring about what they eat, it looks like they have no reason to stop

            1. re: duckdown

              Well we do have a choice and unfortunately it seems the average Canadian makes the wrong one lol. I have a few friends that buy that blue parlour Breyers solely because it is on special at Shoppers Drug Mart, I always tell them I would rather eat chalk than consume that garbage. Very disappointing that Breyers discontinued their natural line here in Canada, I used to love their Natural Vanilla with real specks of vanilla bean. Now I won't touch any other vanilla ice cream but Haagen Dazs.

            2. re: callitasicit

              Haagen Daz is great, but it's also a lot higher fat and more caloric than cheaper, less dense, aerated grocery store ice creams. The main reason I don't buy Haagen Daz all the time is that I don't want to use up 300 calories every time I want to eat a half cup of ice cream.

              Another reason I don't buy Haagen Daz all the time, is that I don't need deluxe ice cream all the time.

              A third reason I don't buy HD all the time is that it's overpriced. I only buy Ben and Jerry's/Haagen Daz when they're on sale for less than $5.

              I like Kawartha Dairy's Moose Tracks, and I don't care if they add glucose.

              For any hounds who are as shockingly low brow as me, which Shaw's, Chapman's and Breyers flavours do you like the most? I realize Googs buys the Chapman's Butter Pecan occasionally.

              I like Chapman's Premium Heavenly Hash. I also like the PC Pralines and Cream.

              1. re: prima

                Hagen Dasz is pretty good (though I have to leave it out on the counter for a while to let it soften up...I hate ice cream that you need a chisel to eat).
                The brand has sure grown since the days when it was made in what looked like a garage in a semi industrial area near Perth Amboy, NJ. I think the product has changed a bit over the years but it still seems like an 'honest' basic ice cream, even with Nestle at the helm.

                1. re: The Professor

                  Oh good lord, I didn't realize that Nestle ultimately owns Haagen Daz. Oh well. No more HD for me.

                  1. re: Googs

                    I felt that way too when I read that.

                    1. re: kwass

                      well there's always Ben N' Jerry's!

                      oh wait... they sold to Unilever. :(

                        1. re: Googs

                          Maybe I'm not that picky when it comes to ice cream but I really enjoy Ed's Real Scoop and they are a five min walk from my house. No need for big brand products IMO.

                          1. re: JennaBean

                            I know where you mean. On queen st in the beaches I used to go there all the time. Right near the GOOF restaurant

                    2. re: Googs

                      why should it matter if the quality is maintained??????

                      1. re: The Professor

                        It's my personal choice that Nestle products will never enter my home. Their heinous acts committed against babies and animals, those without the power of language, won't be forgiven and shouldn't considering it's ongoing. Sorry that HD is the baby in this bathwater scenario, but I simply won't ignore their past and present. There are plenty of other choices out there with which I can live that are every bit as good if not better.

                        1. re: Googs

                          Googs, if you find yourself travelling outside Canada and US in the future, keep in mind the HD sold outside Canada and the US isn't licensed by Nestle. Which might explain why the HD I remember having eaten in Europe always seems to tasted different and sometimes better than the HD I've eaten at home.

                          1. re: prima

                            Maybe, but it's more likely that the difference in taste comes from dairy industry law that requires locally bought milk for ice creams

                            1. re: meatnveg


                              I even find the mainstream, commercially-processed, large scale ice creams in Europe like Movenpick, Carte D'Or, Cornetto, etc taste better/have better texture than most of what I've eaten here. I think the recipe and processing make more of a difference, since the flavours added to the ice cream cover most of the dairy flavour (at least in the flavours I choose buy). We can always add more cream if the milk being used isn't as high-fat as milk used elsewhere.

                              re: locally bought milk
                              Are you talking about a Canadian dairy industry law, or a dairy industry law overseas? Canadian ice cream can be made with Canadian milk, anywhere in Canada, as far as I'm aware. Scotsburn Dairy in Truro, NS has been making the Cdn Baskin Robbins since the Peterborough Baskin Robbins plant shut down last year.

                          2. re: Googs

                            I was unaware of any controversy involving Nestlé.

                2. re: Googs

                  What is their marketing strategy? I've seen their products in a couple stores only (costco and T&T)...never really heard of them otherwise. Curious to know.

                  1. re: szw

                    Really? My local Foodland, with limited freezer space, carries KD and I thought I'd seen it most at most major chains. But I'm not really looking. It's interesting this thread got to 70+ replies but it basically confirms my suspicion that they were never a "premium" (low overrun, no gums) product and a lot of the hype is nostalgia or something. It is amazing how quickly they became a known brand. For everyday non-gourmet or cottage country parlour cones, I prefer them to the competition (say Chapmans, Neilsen, Baskin Robbins?). I like the Rum Raisin, but the Moose Tracks doesn't have enough PB cups! Now I'm wondering if I got sucked into the hype and how they would fare in a blind taste against those brands. On Manitoulin I've tried the local brand that people rave about (Farquhar's) and found it even less special so I really think people have nostalgic ice cream preferences. When I was a kid, HD wasn't available yet and when it came out we knew it was special, so my feeling is that the ice cream of the 70s/80s was already pretty crap, we just didn't notice it. I don't begrudge a Canadian company having some marketing success with a non-gourmet product, as the rep says, let's compare apples to apples.

              2. I've noticed they have no Facebook or Twitter presence at all, and I have a feeling that it's because of precisely this.

                I do want to contact them and see what they say but I can imagine getting either a useless canned response or just no response at all...

                Haagen Dazs really is the gold standard I'd compare any other ice cream to, but they are not a Canadian company, so it would be nice to support an entirely Canadian operation. Sadly the losers at Kawartha Dairy clearly have zero standards and could care less about making a quality product. Just another case of "it's all about the money" I guess.

                What a shame..

                11 Replies
                1. re: duckdown

                  I'm not sure why you say they don't have a Facebook page.
                  In fact, there are a few... I found them under Kawartha Dairy or Kawartha Dairy Company or Kawartha Ice Cream with a posting as recently as yesterday. (And apparently people still love them as evidenced by the Globe article they mention on their FB page!)

                  They also reference their FB page on the main Kawartha Dairy page:

                  1. re: bluefirefly

                    Ah I guess I only looked for a Twitter account, my mistake sorry. Didn't look very diligently for a Facebook page

                  2. re: duckdown

                    Not true. Kawartha has one standard: They only use Canadian milk and cream. That's isn't a cheap choice. If they were to be pure as well, that'd likely price them out of existence.

                    If you want Canadian and chemical free, try Gelato Fresco. Made in Toronto and available t select stores. If you want the full line of flavours they also sell direct to the public at the factory.

                    1. re: duckdown

                      You could buy Canadian by going to any of the ice cream places around town such as Il Gelatiere or Hollywood and buy take out 1/2 or one litre of any flavor(s) you want. It'll be expensive but you'd be buying Canadian ice cream / gelato at least as good as HD.

                      1. re: syoung

                        While I endorse the 'buying Canadian' comment, I'm less enthusiastic about the 'at least as good' part.
                        My taste tests (some formal and some personal experience) have not supported the proposition that the retail stores provide a better (or even consistent) product.
                        When Il Gelatiere first opened I was extremely enthusiastic but by the second season it seemed clear to me that they were using purees (rather than fruit) as flavourings (not too much Canadian mango/citrus). Hollywood has always seemed too sweet for me.
                        Canadian milk/cream (with rare exceptions - possibly) is not rewarded for higher fat content - its a quota system and premium quality of raw material would generally sell at same price. So for ice cream/gelato we also need to look at the supplementary ingredients.
                        I do support Gelato Fresco - I've seen the fruit being delivered and seen them make, for example, espresso by the regular size portion (cup) hundreds of times (or maybe thousands - for clarity I probably only saw them make about 10 actual cups, but it's certainly made by individual serving).
                        Also, over the season, I've seen colour changes in, specifically, blood orange which varies between pink and deep red.

                        1. re: estufarian

                          One of the individuals originally connected to Il Gelatiere left after its first season, as far as I understand, which might have contributed to the change.

                          I was disappointed that it seemed no one checked to see how fresh-tasting the pine nuts were before adding them to a batch of the Maria gelato at Il Gelatiere in its 2nd season. Considering someone at Eigensinn Farm also forgot to check the nuts for freshness before making some Xmas pastries for the Eigensinn Kristkindlmarkt a few years ago, perhaps nut-freshness-taste-testing-before-throwing-them-into-the-mix is a step that doesn't cross the minds of individuals in the food business in Toronto and Ontario.

                          I've also found Hollywood too sweet in the past, and sometimes the texture isn't what I like. I haven't been to Hollywood for at least 5 years, so I have no idea what their gelato has been like lately.

                          Still slowly working my way through the GF flavours. While I liked the taste of the GF Milanese vanilla, I generally prefer having North American-style ice cream (dense Haagen Daz-style or the more typical, air-whipped-in, easier-to-scoop Shaw's, Chapman's or Kawartha Dairy-style) than gelato for vanilla and other creamy flavours, especially if I'm serving the vanilla ice cream with a crumble or pie. It's purely a texture thing for me.

                          1. re: prima

                            Not that I have the foresight to do this (generally) but if one takes a 'low over-run' (i.e not stuffed with air) ice cream/gelato and leaves it to stand, it will become scoopable as it warms up (as a side note, the flavour intensity should also increase, as most flavours intensify with increasing temperature).
                            Of course, reality often intrudes here, as who as the time, space (and planning skills) to remove the ice cream from the freezer maybe 20 mins before using.
                            I know you rely on TTC, so again not really feasible, but Gelato Fresco often have a Sour Cream ice-cream at their retail outlet, and that, for me, is the best 'vanilla-style' ice cream around.

                            1. re: estufarian

                              In my experience, it really only takes about 5-10 minutes. At 20, it gets too liquid. No planning required.

                              1. re: Googs

                                If I'm having a dinner party I usually stick it in the fridge when we have the main course. Perfect every time.

                                1. re: LexiFirefly

                                  Oooooh I LIKE that one. Good tip, LexiFirefly.

                    2. Tasted off to me as well, checked the packaging, and am totally bummed to find Kawartha is no longer simple all natural ice cream :(

                      1 Reply
                      1. They all follow suit, one company after another figuring out how to make "ice cream" that's not ice cream. Thankfully, there's still Haagen Dazs.