Vanilla Ice Creams and Frozen Desserts - Seven brands tested... some could do better
It must be the combination of sweetness and cold, this indulgence called ice cream. Typically eaten as a snack or a dessert, it is usually made from dairy products, such as milk and cream, fructose- or glucose-based sweeteners, and often combined with fruits or other ingredients and flavours such as vanilla or chocolate. When this mixture freezes, it develops the rich, creamy consistency of ice cream, a food that can affect your health in both positive and negative ways. Although the nutritional content of ice cream varies among brands and types, in general it is a good source of energy and several important minerals, being particularly rich in calcium and phosphorus. For all of that, though, ice cream is a high-fat food – it must contain greater than 10 per cent milk fat to be called ice cream. The sugar is there too. What is the big difference from frozen desserts, one may ask. Well, while ice cream is mainly made from milk and dairy fat, frozen desserts are made with vegetable oil – a finding that comes through in the Consumer Voice tests as well. Generally, a frozen dessert is defined as any type of dessert made by freezing a mixture of liquids, semi-solids, and sometimes even solids. So, ice cream is also a type of frozen dessert – however, do note that all frozen desserts cannot qualify to be ice cream (the ‘10 per cent milk fat’ rule, remember?). Frozen treats can be of different types made with various ingredients – frozen yogurt and frozen custard, for example. These days, many of the products in the ice cream aisle at your grocery store are ‘frozen desserts’ that are often made with edible oil products and do not contain the nutrients naturally found in milk. Consumers must read the nutrition facts table on the label to know which is which. And remember: If it does not say ice cream on the package, it is not ice cream.
For the comparative tests, we chose four brands of ice creams and three brands of frozen desserts in vanilla flavour. The test programme was mainly based on IS: 2802 and FSS Regulations, 2011. The testing was conducted at an NABL-accredited laboratory. In addition to fat, sugar and vegetable oil components, the following report will tell you a thing or two about other important criteria like total solids, weight per litre, moisture, protein and starch. We considered these key parameters for critical evaluation based on inherent substances normally found in the raw material and milk. Consumers may note that ice creams and frozen desserts are emulsified and whipped with air due to which the ratio between volume by weight is more – hence, consumers get just over 50 per cent of the mass in term of its volume. Generally, the cheaper the ice cream/frozen dessert, the more the air that has been pumped in there. Another major health-related parameter was microbiological safety. Various pathogenic and other bacterial contamination tests were conducted to assess the overall acceptability in terms of microbial safety.
Top Performers - Baskin Robbins | Verka
Value for Money - Vadilal
- Based on the overall test findings, Baskin Robbins and Verka in ice creams and Vadilal in frozen desserts were the top performers
- Overall, the value-for-money brands are Verka in ice creams and Vadilal in frozen desserts.
- All the brands met the minimum requirements specified in the national standards, with the exception of a few brands that were found to be slightly high in sucrose content.
- Water (moisture >61%) was the highest ingredient in ice creams as well as frozen desserts.
- All the brands were found to be safe in terms of microbiological requirements.
- In the sensory panel tests, Verka in ice cream and Cream Bell in frozen dessert topped in their respective categories.
- For Physiochemical Parameters
- For Microbiological Activity
- For Sensory Attributes
- For General Qualities
You can see list of our CV Comparative Test Ice Creams and Frozen Desserts below, perform Side-by-Side comparison. If you need further help, do have a look at Conzumr Guides and Tips. Alternatively you can view all Vanilla Ice Cream to choose your own favourites.
Ice Cream Ice cream refers to the frozen food made from a heat-treated mix made out of milk, cream and/or other milk products (derived from cow and buffalo milk), and with or without sweetening ingredients, eggs, water, fruits, nuts, chocolate, permitted stabilisers, permitted emulsifiers, edible common salt, and permissible flavouring and colouring matter.
In FSS Regulations, ice creams are categorised into three types: 1) ice cream; 2) medium-fat ice cream; and 3) low-fat ice cream. The requirements for these categories are different with regard to total solids, milk fat, protein, and weight/volume.
Frozen dessert means the product obtained by freezing a pasteurised mix prepared with milk fat and /or
edible vegetable oils and fats, having a melting point of not more than 37 degrees C in combination and
milk protein alone or in combination /or vegetable protein products singly or in combination with the
addition of nutritive sweetening agents.
As per FSS Regulations, desserts are categorised into three types: 1) frozen dessert; 2) medium-fat frozen dessert; and 3) low-fat frozen dessert. The requirements for these categories are different for Total Solid, Total fat, protein, weight per volume.
As per FSS Regulations, every package of frozen dessert shall bear the following on the label: “Frozen dessert contains edible vegetable oil.”
Side by Side comparison
- In ice creams, Amul and Baskin Robbins were found with higher fat percentage; among frozen desserts, Kwality Wall’s had the highest total fat.
- Vegetable oil was found absent in the ice-cream brands and was present in frozen desserts.
- All the brands were above the minimum requirements.
- All the brands met the minimum requirement for total solids except Amul (35.74 per cent).
- Baskin Robbins contained highest total solids among all the ice cream brands.
- In frozen desserts, all the brands scored full marks – this is good for consumers.
- Mother Dairy (16.86 per cent) and Amul (16.22 per cent) were found with higher sucrose.
- Verka (14.57 per cent) and Baskin Robbins (14.63 per cent) were found with lower sucrose content.
- Highest moisture content was found in Amul; lower moisture was found in Kwality Wall’s, Vadilal and Mother Dairy.
- Amul (5.40 per cent) and Baskin Robbins (5.12 per cent) were found with higher protein level.
- At 2.97 per cent, the protein in Cream Bell fell slightly short of the requirement.
- All the brands were within the maximum limit.
- No brand was adulterated with saccharine.
- Starch was absent in all the brands.
Microbiological contamination is a very serious issue for all food products. We conducted this test for standard plate count, yeast and mould, Coliform count, S. aureus, Salmonella, Shigella, Listeria monocytogenes and anaerobic spore count. These microorganisms are responsible for many food-borne diseases. Due to improper or poor hygienic condition during the manufacturing process, microorganisms may occur in the finished product.
Total plate count: As per the Indian Standards, total plate count in ice cream should not be more than 2.5 x 105.
- All the brands were within the specified requirement 2.5 x 105. TPC was found highest in Cream Bell and lowest in Mother Dairy.
b) Name and full address of manufacturer
c) Batch or code number
d) Volume in litre/millilitre
e) Vegetarian mark
f) Storage instructions
h) ‘Best before’ date
i) Customer-care details