It is a hot sunny day and you just want to relax by the pool… you know what that means? Snack time! There is nothing better than an ice cold tundra-like snack to freshen up your burning hot body. As kids, the classic snack to have during these times are ice cream sandwiches of course! There is nothing better than a milky vanilla bar squished between two gooey chocolate doors! However, what if I told you that these childhood favorites are disgustingly unnatural?
Over this past summer, a shocking video was posted to Youtube concerning the naturalness of Ice Cream Sandwiches. This video was posted because a mother in Cincinnati was concerned once she saw that her son’s Walmart “Great Value” Ice Cream Sandwich did not melt after laying out in the boiling hot 80ºF sun for twelve hours (Pasulka 1). Twelve hours? What?!… What could cause the ice cream bars to not melt after such a long period of time in very warm weather? Isn’t ice cream meant to melt?
After the video and news story went viral, Consumer Reports decided to tackle the subject and find out what is really going on with these ice cream sandwiches. They began an experiment and decided to test other Ice Cream Sandwich brands besides the Walmart “Great Value” brand. Consumer Reports used the following brands for their experiment: Klondike, Nestle, Walgreens “Nice!”, Blue Bunny, and Walmart “Great Value” (Reports 1). The group of scientists then lined up one bar of each brand outside in 100ºF weather and timed how long it took for each sandwich to melt. After 10 minutes, the Nestle brand melted; after 15 minutes, the Klondike brand melted; after 30 minutes, the Walmart “Great Value”, Walgreen “Nice!”, and Blue Bunny brands were softer, but they still held their shape; finally, after an hour, the Walmart “Great Value” brand was the only sandwich that had not melted (Reports 1). Clearly there is a huge problem with most of these brands, but what is it?
After tasting all of the brands, the Consumer Reports Employees all found something in common. They all noticed that the ice cream part of the sandwich contained guar gums, “a carbohydrate consisting of mannose and galactose at a 2:1 ratio that can swell in cold water…one of the most highly efficient water-thickening agents… is widely used as a binder and volume enhancer” (Food 1). According to Consumer Reports Scientist, Linda Greene (A.K.A. my mother), ingredients such as guar gums, calcium sulfate, and mono and diglycerides are found in all of these products (Reports 1). These additives are all used to help slow the melting rate of the ice cream and to prevent large crystal formations when taken in and out of the freezer (Reports 1). “These ingredients… are added at very low levels… Manufacturers add them so that ice cream sandwiches don’t dribble down your arm when you eat them”, stated Linda Greene. With that being said, these ice cream sandwiches are not natural at all which is quite gross.
We must reconsider the possibility that this experiment could have been flawed. Walmart did shoot back saying that “Ice cream with more cream will generally melt at a slower rate”, which could be an understandable factor (Reports 1). Also, some of the ice cream sandwiches could have been more frozen than others or maybe these results just happened by chance.
In the long run, it is better to choose foods with fewer chemically sounding ingredients. An ice cream made from just milk, cream sugar and vanilla is a better choice than one with a list of many chemically sounding ingredients. In other words, just stick to the Creamery!
“Food Gums – International Food Additive Council.” Food Gums – International Food Additive Council. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Oct. 2014.
Pasulka, Nicole. “Here’s Why Those Creepy Walmart Ice Cream Sandwiches Don’t Melt.” TakePart. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Oct. 2014.
Reports, Consumer. “Science Behind Walmart’s ‘Non-Melting’ Ice Cream | Consumer Reports.” YouTube. YouTube, n.d. Web. 23 Oct. 2014.