Ice Cream Review: Breyers Smooth and Dreamy Vanilla Ice Cream
Low fat ice cream can be a dicey proposition on a hot summer day.
Loaded with stabilizers, often masked by excessive sweetness, and in no way carrying the creamy and decadent texture of the genuine article, enjoying two scoops of the good stuff on a late May afternoon is sometimes best surmised as an exercise in perspective.
And that’s the low fat stuff. So what hope could there be for the non-fat stuff?
Breyers Smooth and Dreamy Vanilla promises to “set your taste buds free with smooth, creamy vanilla and 0 fat grams!” At just 90 calories per 1/2 cup serving it’s about as healthy as ice creams come, but does it taste good? As is the case with any reduced fat product, the answer is relative. Before I went to a university with its own creamery and began to indulge weekly on fresh creamed, 12% butterfat ice cream, I ate quite a bit of low fat ice cream. In other words, I’ve had the high fat stuff and the low fat stuff, and I judge it all relative to similar products. So while I heartily acknowledge that low fat and nonfat ice creams will almost never have the ability to replicate the texture of high butterfat ice creams, some brands — like Edy’s Slow Churned — do a darn good job at coming close, and play on bold flavor combinations and quality of flavorings to make up for any textural defects.
Breyers apparently revamped their low-fat and nonfat ice cream formula a year or two ago, and I’ve found the change to have been for the better. I’ve hated low-fat versions of Breyers in the past, which all too often formed ice crystals and “clumped” up on me. While promising a “smooth and dreamy” texture, this ice cream only half delivers. It was fairly clumpy and hard when I broke it out of the freezer, and worse yet didn’t appear completely filled to the container after I opened it. The ice cream itself seemed to start melting rather quickly, which actually proved to be a welcomed sign. Slightly melted on my cone, the texture of the ice cream ended up being better than I anticipated. The clumps and ice crystals I feared were minimal, and the texture was altogether enjoyable. Had I not known that it was nonfat I would have guessed it was “reduced fat.” Interestingly enough, cream is on the ingredient list, so I’m assuming the whipped nature of the cream does lend a dietary insignificant amount of fat and a welcomed texture. That being said, when I broke out the ice cream the next day I found it quite hard, and remained frustrated with the scooping process.
The flavor of the “Dreamy” Vanilla didn’t exactly make me dream of warm Madagascar seashores and imported vanilla beans. To be fair it wasn’t a “French Vanilla” or “Vanilla Bean” flavored product, but the flavor was somewhat muted. No, not artificial or off-putting, but not strong either. I didn’t find this ice cream as sweet as most light and nonfat ice creams (something I prefer in other brands), but the modest 13 grams of sugar is the price you pay for lack of eye-popping sweetness.
This isn’t a bad product, and for a nonfat ice cream I would say it’s about average, although not on par with Turkey Hill or Edy’s. I enjoyed it more than fat free ice creams I’ve had from Green’s and Kemp’s, but found that the lack of bold vanilla flavor exposes it to the familiar textural complaints. A regular Vanilla Ice cream may always be a bit boring for some, but I typically enjoy strong vanilla flavors, which this product only half delivered on. My suggestion is to give it a try if you see your favorite flavor of the ‘Smooth and Dreamy’ line on sale, but to pass in favor of a similarly priced Turkey Hill or Edy’s/Dreyer’s product otherwise.
Pros: Hits a home run in the "good for you" department with only 90 calories, 0 grams fat, and 13 grams sugar per serving. Decent vanilla flavor which doesn't overwhelm. Fairly 'creamy' if given enough time to sit.
Cons: Does not fill up to the container. Seems to have quite a bit of air in it, and comes across as hard and clumpy when first scooped out. Doesn't wow you in the flavor department. A little lackluster in terms of sweetness.
Price: 2.00 (on sale)
Overall GrubGrade: 6.75 (Average)
More Info: Breyers.com
Breyers Smooth and Dreamy Vanilla
Calories from Fat: 0
Total Fat: 0g
Sodium: 45 mg
Total Carbohydrates: 21g
Dietary Fiber: 3g