A sweet treat with endless flavour options, there's no better summertime crowd pleaser than ice cream. We take a closer look to see if one stands out as the cream of the crop.
For the purest taste, pick an ice cream with the fewest ingredients. Look for basic and natural. Avoid trans fats, monotriglycerides and hydrogenated fats.
Milk is the primary ingredient, plus sweeteners and various flavourings.
The quality, and especially the fat content, of the milk, determine whether it’s a super premium gourmet ice cream, a light or low-fat ice cream, or a more economy option.
Stabilizers, emulsifiers, and air bond the ice cream together and give it texture.
Without air, your container of ice cream would be a block of ice. The difference in volume before and after air is added is called “overrun”. A premium ice cream has a very low overrun. Economy brands tend to pump in more air for a higher overrun, and are thus less expensive.
Thawing and refreezing can really affect ice cream’s flavour and texture. Even opening and closing of the freezer case at the supermarket is enough to start a thaw.
Don’t choose a container with crystallized ice on the outside – a tell-tale sign it’s been thawed and refrozen. Try to pick a rock solid container from the back and get it home to your freezer quickly.
We recruited kids and parents to help us with our taste test. To create a level playing field, we tested the vanilla flavour of these brands:
- Häagen-Dazs: $6.99 500 ml
- Ben & Jerry’s: $6.99 500 ml
- Breyers: $1.99 500 ml
- Nestlé Real Dairy Light: $1.99 500 ml
- Lucerne: 84¢ 500 ml
Since ice cream is sold by volume, not weight, we tested weighed a ½ cup of each brand to see which was heaviest, and thus had the least air.
- Häagen-Dazs: 108 g
- Ben & Jerry’s: 100 g
- Breyers: 94 g
- Nestlé: 90 g
- Lucerne: 84 g
As we expected, more ice cream and less air for your dollar means buying premium. Häagen-Daz is definitely no airhead.
Kids’ Taste Test
85% of our kids chose Ben & Jerry’s vanilla as the most vanilla-y
Other brands were said to taste like butter or paper.
Breyers was a second choice.
Grown Ups’ Test
Breyers was the most popular with the grown-ups
Häagen-Dazs and Ben & Jerry’s were next popular
The last two didn’t even compare
OUR TOP PICK
The scoop? Breyers, Häagen-Daz, Ben & Jerry’s…they’re all irresistibly yummy!