Consumer Reports vanilla ice cream taste test

Consumer Reports has partnered exclusively with 7 On Your Side for a report on the best ice creams.
Friday, July 04, 2014
Consumer Reports has partnered exclusively with 7 On Your Side for a report on the best vanilla ice creams.

Who doesn't love ice cream? More than 90 percent of the ice cream we eat, we scoop out at home. So Consumer Reports set out to find the best tasting ice cream in the supermarket. They focused on America's top-selling flavor. One hint - it's not chocolate.

With or without the sprinkles and chocolate sauce, America's favorite ice cream is vanilla. But what makes plain vanilla really great plain vanilla? Consumer Reports tasters put the most popular vanilla ice creams to the test. A specially trained "sensory team" blind-tasted 19, for flavor, texture, and appearance.

"An excellent vanilla ice cream should have definite dairy flavor, balanced by real vanilla. And it shouldn't be overly sweet, and it should have a creamy, smooth texture," said Amy Keating, Consumer Reports.

Several of the samples were not so great. For instance, Target's Market Pantry vanilla bean had an "airy, gummy" texture, and the vanilla was just "basic." Topping Consumer Reports' taste test? Ben & Jerry's vanilla. Tasters say it's "rich, dense, and creamy," with a complex vanilla flavor. It's about a $1 a half-cup. Another one to go nuts over? Haagen-Dazs vanilla is "full, dense, and creamy," with "big dairy flavor." it also runs about $1 a half-cup.

"Well, it's not surprising that the top-rated ones were really high in fat. But there very good ones that we tested that have about half the fat and are lower in price, as well," said Keating.

Many of these ice creams can be had for about a third of the price of the "excellent"-rated brands. But would they get the same response? If you are inviting over a gang for ice cream, a good choice is Kirkland Signature Super Premium from Costco. At 30 cents a half-cup, it's one-third the price of Ben & Jerry's or Haagen-Dazs. But buy it for a crowd. It's sold as two half-gallon containers.

Consumer Reports is published by Consumers Union. Both Consumer Reports and Consumers Union are not-for-profit organizations that accept no advertising. Neither has any commercial relationship with any advertiser or sponsor on this site.

(All Consumer Reports Material Copyright 2014. Consumers Union of U.S. Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.)
Related Topics:
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