Taste Test: Cheap Ice Cream Treats vs. Premium Brands
In the heat of summer, not much sounds better than an ice-cold ice cream novelty. National Ice Cream Day falls on the second Sunday of July every year (July 19 in 2015). Ahead of the celebration, Cheapism.com conducted a blind tasting to determine the best ice cream treats and see how inexpensive novelties measure up to premium brands. The task wasn't easy, but a panel of six judges sampled ice cream treats from Dove, Haagen-Dazs, Klondike, Kroger (the store brand), and Nestlé. Kroger's store brand was the cheapest overall while Dove and Haagen-Dazs represented the premium segment. The frozen sweets were divided into categories: ice cream sandwiches, bars, and cones. Natural flavor was the most important criterion, followed by a distinctly chocolaty coating or sandwich wafer and a shell or cone with a nice crunch. So, which novelties appealed to the panelists' tastes and which ones melted into a last-place puddle?
The reviewers liked the flavor of the Nestlé Vanilla Sandwich but detected a slight artificial aftertaste. The outer chocolate cookie layers were too "soggy" for many.
Nestlé's Eskimo Pie snagged a runner-up spot in the bar category. This one prompted a "wow" on first bite from one panelist, who found the follow-through a bit lacking. "The flavor seems to fade fast and end on a bland note," one reviewer added. The ice cream was the main culprit here, as the chocolate was deemed a very close contender for first place.
The Nestlé Drumstick was the overall favorite in the cone category. "The taste was more organic and less artificial" than Kroger's Fun Daze Sundae, according to several tasters, while the cone had a "nice crunch" and a "less stale texture."
Kroger Sammies emerged as the most deserving ice cream sandwich. With what the panel described as "a crisp and rich chocolate sandwich filled with creamy vanilla ice cream," consumers can't go wrong. While Klondike and Nestlé also garnered favorable comments, neither ranked as high in the judges' estimation.