An investigation by Which? of 24 different vanilla ice cream brands found that a number of the products did not contain the “key ingredients” for making the frozen dessert.
Products from five brands, including offerings from Asda, Morrisons and Wall’s, did not contain any of these ingredients – often substituting them for artificial vanilla flavours and powdered milk, claimed Which?.
A further seven products were missing at least one of the ingredients, with most opting to substitute either cream, fresh milk or both – three opted to use artificial vanilla flavouring.
For example, Carte D’Or contained vanilla but no fresh cream or milk, Asda Soft Scoop Cornish Vanilla Ice Cream contained no vanilla but its ingredients did include fresh cream and fresh milk.
The remaining 12 ice creams all contained cream, fresh milk and vanilla, but were some of the most expensive products in their category.
Own-label luxury products from Asda and Sainsbury’s counted among their number, along with premium brands such as Green & Black’s, Ben & Jerry’s and Kelly’s of Cornwall.
Häagen-Dazs vanilla – the ice cream with the most “authentic ingredients” such as fresh cream (39%), condensed skimmed milk, sugar, egg yolk and vanilla extract – cost £9.13 per litre. In comparison, Asda’s Soft Scoop Vanilla cost £1.35 for two litres, making it 85% cheaper.
“There are no requirements to meet before something can be called ‘ice cream’,” said Which?. “This means that vegan products can now be called ice cream and that manufacturers can reformulate to reduce fat, but still call their products ice cream.
“On the flip-side, it also means that cheaper products made with lower-quality ingredients can also be labelled as ice cream. What’s clear is not all ice creams are created equal.”