So, I’m at the grocery store for vanilla ice cream. Reflexively I make a bee line to the Breyers display in the freezer section because, of course, I don’t have to guess what’s in it. Those ads where cute little kids read the ingredients (“fresh cream, sugar and milk”) on the package playing through my head, I just pick up a carton of Breyers Vanilla.

Well… can’t hurt to read the ingredients. Imagine my surprise when I see “corn syrup” listed near the top! Turns out you have to look a little more closely when shopping for Breyers Vanilla.  If you want the product the cute kids are hocking on television, make sure the label says “Breyers Natural Vanilla.” Otherwise, you may pick up “Breyers Frozen Dairy Dessert.”

Unilever, Breyers’ owners as of the last 20 years or so, say the decision to change the formula was driven by consumers who wanted “smoother ice cream.” Could be. But this move seems terribly out of touch for a leading American ice cream brand. You see, American consumers are also demanding real sugar. Example: craft soda is the ONLY growth segment in the carbonated soft drink category. Craft soda’s unique selling point is 100% cane sugar among the ingredients.

Selfish Competitive Platform?

Unilever’s reasoning seems to us to mask their real intent – – to compete with other brands on price (essentially money spent on ingredients).

Was Breyers wrong to use consumers’ recall of “Natural Ingredients” while adding “Frozen Dairy Desserts,” to their product mix, or was the move justified as purely business-driven? We don’t think so. Eventually, when buyers realize what’s happened their reaction may not be limited to just one Breyers product. In my case, the decision has led me to a new brand …with real sugar.