What’s Unilever’s Secret Ingredient in Breyers Ice Cream ?

Mmmm, Mmmm, Mmmm. Natural Tara Gum.

We don’t know about you, but we salivate at the mere mention of the stuff.

Maybe it’s the “natural” qualifier that does it for us. I mean, if Unilever used artificial Tara Gum in their Breyers Ice Cream, we wouldn’t have nearly the same hankering for the stuff. It’s sort of like the ingredient list on some foods that have water as their main ingredient. Don’t just call it water. Call it “Natural spring water”, “Triple filtered, sparkling well water” or something similar.

After posting our recent article about Unilever again shrinking the container size of Breyers Ice Cream, we found other postings on the Web which pointed out that Unilever had also recently changed their Breyers recipe to include the ingredient “tara gum”, which is used as a food thickener, similar to guar gum and locust bean gum.

Of course, you do have to wonder why Breyers, a brand of ice cream that was always so proud of its ingredients, would suddenly find it necessary to add this delectable vegetable gum to their product. We suspect that they have cheapened the recipe, probably cutting down on the dairy cream content.

We also have to wonder about Unilever. Isn’t anything sacred to this food industry behemoth? They’re messing with a brand that has always been held up as being pure and simple. They obviously have little respect for the intelligence of their customers. Do they honestly believe that prefixing “tara gum” with the adjective “natural” is going to convince consumers that this is a desirable ingredient? Why not add “natural crude oil” or “natural snake venom” to the ingredient list while you’re at it? In fact, Breyers’ very own advertisements used to poke fun at competitors who used ingredients like “guar gum” or “vegetable mono- and diglycerides” in their ice cream. Sounds like the pot is calling the kettle black, if you know what we mean. Hypocrites !

If you can stop salivating long enough to finish reading this article, we’ll fill you in on Tara gum. Until we saw the other postings about Unilever using it in Breyers Ice Cream, and then reading it on the ingredient list on a Breyers 1.5 quart carton on our most recent excursion to the supermarket, we had never heard of tara gum.

Does tara gum have anything to do with the 1939 movie “Gone With The Wind” …or is it a reference to a Hindu goddess or a character from the soap opera “All My Children?

No, No and No.

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (fao.org) defines tara gum as follows…

Obtained by grinding the endosperm of the seeds of Caesalpinia spinosa (Fam. Leguminosae); consists chiefly of polysaccharides of high molecular weight composed mainly of galactomannans. The principal component consists of a linear chain of (1,4)-beta-D-mannopyranose units with alpha-D-galacto-pyranose units attached by (1 6) linkages; the ratio of mannose to galactose in tara gum is 3:1.

Caesalpinia Spinosa? Endosperm? Polysaccharides? Glactomannans? Mannopyranose?

Sounds yummy, doesn’t it? No wonder Breyers Ice Cream tastes so good. It must be the endosperm.

Oh… and what else are the seeds of this native Peruvian plant useful for? According to this article on wikipedia, “Water from boiled dried pods is also used to kill fleas and other insects“. Maybe feeding Breyers Ice Cream to your dog will take care of that flea problem.

– Routing By Rumor

13 Comments

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13 responses to “What’s Unilever’s Secret Ingredient in Breyers Ice Cream ?

  1. Jill Kalin

    NO CHOCOLATE LIQUOR IN our Mint Chocolate Chip anymore!!!! They removed it just like they added the tara gum!!! The chips are no longer my favorite anymore from being a kid. It figures in this day and age my favorite icecream goes to the dogs……and even they would be able to tell the difference. Bye bye breyers!!!

    – Alpharetta, Georgia

  2. Peter Moino

    The tara gum has ruined it…do you notice how the ice cream spoons out of the container in clumps? It isn’t even creamy like ice cream should be.

    – Essex Junction, Vermont

  3. Ken R. Dye

    Sadly, the big corporation (who I can thank for not changing U.S. mayonnaise when they bought Hellmann’s and Best Foods) totally fubared one one of the best U.S. ice creams.

    They had already bought the defacto U.S. “premium” icecream, ben and jerry’s which already had industrial ca-ca ingredients. So when they buy an actual premium ice cream (bryer’s….can you spell carrogeenen? “natural flavors”…what was wrong with vanilla?) what was their $$ motivation to spend the extra dollars to keep it natural? They already had their upscale version, so hello all natural “guar gum”!

    Yet another great tradition gone to international hell…

    – Chicago, Illinois

    Response from Routing By Rumor…

    Actually, Ken, many consumers, as well as us here at Routing By Rumor, believe that Unilever HAS cheapened the Hellmann’s mayonnaise recipe ! Is nothing sacred ? See our article on Hellmann’s Mayonnaise downsizing and recipe change.

  4. Christine

    I thought i was going crazy.How can we be going through so much ice cream? I grew up with breyers and I thought I had remembered it being in a larger container.Sure enough once i Investigated I learned that they have made the product smaller twice! No wonder we go through ice cream so fast.We are getting nothing for our money.It doesn’t taste same either.I think i will stop buying it.stay at home mom Florida.

    – Altamonte Springs, Florida

  5. Jan De Neef

    Dear Icecream eaters,

    I don’t know how Breyers icecreaam tastes now and before, because I never tasted it!
    But I can tell you that the tara tree is a native species of the Peruvian Andes region. The tara pods are used as natural vegetable tannins in the leather industry and replace chemicals as cromodioxide. In Europe the leather for baby shoes must be treated with vegetable tannins! The seeds of the pods contain an endosperm which gives the tara gum and helps as a “thickening” agent in diferent foodstuff.
    The product is really natural and nowadays helps thousands of poor farmers to survive thanks to the collection of the pods. Over the last 5 years the price for tara pods has tripled because of an increased use of tara and this gives a sustainable income to many people. So think twice when you eat your icecream and be happy to help people in South America. Kind Regards from a tara promoter.

    – Cochabamba, Bolivia

    Response from RoutingByRumor…

    An interesting comment from someone who has probably never even seen a container of Breyer’s Ice Cream, let alone having never tasted the product.

    Not only will your purchases support a manufacturer (Unilever / Breyers) who keeps downsizing their product, but it will also provide an income to poor farmers in South America. All this, while you ingest a chemical from the same source as those used to process leather used to make baby shoes. Yum !

    Look for Breyer’s newest flavor, “Shoe Leather Rocky Road”, on your next shopping trip.

  6. Cal Kane

    I noticed the shrinkage a few months ago & called the toll free # to complain. They sent me 2 coupons for their shrunken half gallons; I still eat 3-4 “half” gallons per week (chocolate only) – I suggest complaining as often as possible & at least you can get some free ice cream.

    – Butler, Pennsylvania

  7. ScooterAl

    I thought Breyers was the best. Then they added tara gum and it tastes gummy and oily and doesn’t melt in ones mouth. I used to pay a little more for it because, well heck, it was a quality product. NO MORE!! They ruined something that was good.

    If they made a Breyers Classic with the old recipe I would gladly pay more for it. I will never buy the current product.

    The only ice cream left is Haagen Dazs.

  8. Gina Stevenson

    Nooooo! What ice cream is left anymore, then, without that nasty stuff!? It was a flaky, like-homemade texture without the “gum” (which, of course, makes it gummy).

    If Breyers has added this, whether guar gum, tara gum, or any other “GUM!”, then I cannot buy it. I’ve sometimes bo’t other ice cream when Breyers was not on sale (only time to buy it!), and I just could not handle the TEXTURE (those vanilla specks, & good vanilla taste are great, too), so would wait until Breyers was on sale again to get ice cream.

    TRAITORS! That’s what they are @ Unilever, if they’ve messed so with the recipe that they’ve GUMMED it all up!! NOTHING special about it anymore, if that’s the case. :o( :o( :o(

    Guess I will have to MAKE MY OWN!! :o(

  9. Streaker

    I noticed the ingredients have gone to the pits. Crappier ingredients for a higher price? No thanks. Note how the name is now “Mint ChocolateY Chip” and not just “Mint Chocolate Chip”. Legally, they aren’t allowed to say “chocolate” unless the product has a specific percentage of cocoa butter. I miss real ice cream…

  10. Patrick Nelis

    Many ice cream products use a form of gum, as a filler, and to add a measure of smoothness and thickness to ice cream. Bryers was famous for not using these artificial ingredients. It was pure ice cream. The idiots who took over did not understand why Bryers could charge more for their product. The product was pure, and it tasted better.

    May these bastards all rot in hell for what they have done to ruin a great product.

  11. SusieQ

    I agree…They shouldn’t have messed with their recipe after taking pride in their natural ingredients. Now they are just like all the rest. (All anyone eats around here is BlueBell, which isn’t even close to natural.) I got an ice cream maker so I could make my own! I do remember the Butter Almond as a kid, though. Possibly the best flavor ever, but I haven’t seen it in years.

  12. GWEckrich

    Q: Does anyone know of a source for small quantities of tara gum powder–1/4 kilogram or less?
    Thanks.

    Reply from RoutingByRumor…

    Try these URLs…

    http://www.21food.com/product/search.jsp?searchText=tara%20gum

    http://www.food-ingredients.com/resultpage?q=Caesalpinia&submit=Search

    http://www.exandal.com/company/div_tara_ing.htm

  13. goffcouture

    You know I hadn’t read their ingredient lists in any detail, but I gave up on their mint chocolate chip a while ago when they *clearly* changed the recipe for the chocolate. Now, it’s gritty globs of chocolate flavored wax mixed in to ice cream that is mildly gritty as well. My husband still likes it. I reminisce about the days of old and eat a cookie instead.

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