My wife and are a lot like many other people in that we enjoy a good bowl of ice cream. It’s really a great treat. I always love the kinds that contain a lot of chunks and pieces of things, like brownie pieces or peanut butter cups. My two favorites are probably Moosetracks and Cake Batter, but I seriously don’t think there’s a flavor I don’t like. Oh boy, I’m getting myself all worked up just talking about it.
Anyway, a curious thing has happened recently. I’m not sure when exactly this “thing” started happening, but I know it’s been going on for a while now. A couple of months ago, we were at the grocery store and picked up a carton of ice cream. I think they had Breyer’s brand ice cream on sale that week, so we bought a carton. It was chocolate chip cookie dough or something like it…
A couple of nights later my wife and I opened it up and scooped ourselves each a bowl. We noticed it just wasn’t quite right. No, it wasn’t rotten or anything like that. It wasn’t that we picked out a bad flavor. I don’t know if it was the consistency of the ice cream or what, but something was just “different” and not as good as what we had been used to with ice cream. It wasn’t as creamy or something. Upon further inspection of the ice cream carton, we noticed that this was not “ice cream”. No, instead this was “frozen dairy desert”.
Corporate Cost Cutting
I had to read the carton several times before it really sunk in. Apparently this is some kind of cost saving move by the company. In an attempt to reduce the cost of their ingredients, they are using more artificial components and less milk and cream. I guess this explains the name change. You can’t call something “ice cream” if it no longer contains cream.
I like to think I’m pretty business-minded. I have an accounting degree and an MBA. Does Breyer’s seriously think they can make large-scale changes to their product lineup and not have people notice? My wife and I noticed after taking one bite of the new “frozen dairy desert”. Sure, the casual grocery store customer probably isn’t going to notice that the carton reads “frozen dairy desert” instead of ice cream at first. But after they buy it one time and are disappointed, what are the odds that they’re going to buy it again? I know my wife and I haven’t bought another carton of Breyer’s ice cream since then.
I know that business do marketing surveys and testing before rolling out wholesale product changes. They had to know that consumers weren’t going to like the new product as well, especially because it’s not really any less expensive than the competing brands that are still “ice cream”. I’m sure they ran some financial models and told themselves that it would all work out, and consumers wouldn’t mind. But I think they made a mistake.
I’m hopeful that the other major brands aren’t going to follow suit, but we make sure to read all the cartons when buying ice cream now. When I’m buying ice cream, that’s exactly what I want: “Ice Cream”. No frozen dairy desert for me.