See what she has to say about what’s in your ice cream in the Mile Square!
A deeper look at Hoboken Ice Cream Shops
I love Ice Cream. Be it frozen yogurt, frozen custard, soft-serve, hard-packed, you name it – I love it.
I recently acquired an ice cream maker of my own, and am overjoyed with how easy it is to make. You basically just throw in some cream, milk, sugar, and vanilla and let it churn. So, then why is it that some ice creams are packed with dyes, chemicals, and additives? Now, I’m not a stickler for eating low fat or low-calorie per se, however I do pay attention when it comes to “real” food. So, this month I decided to investigate some of my favorite ice cream shops to see what they’re using in their ice cream.
The results may surprise you
- Ben and Jerry’s: Vermont’s finest hippie ice cream producers are completely transparent when it comes to ingredients. A few clicks on their website and I found the complete ingredient list for their “Scoop Shop” vanilla ice cream. Along with the basic ice cream ingredients, there are two additives that sound a bit odd: guar gum and carageenan. Have no fear, these are all-natural additives that are common in ice cream to improve texture. The vanilla in their ice cream is also fair-trade so you can feel good about that.
- Rita’s Ice: I first had Rita’s when I moved to NJ a few years back and I fell in love, especially with the gelati. Lately however, I’ve felt like the flavor has changed and not for the better. The custard went from a rich, creamy treat into a somewhat off-tasting substitute. Checking the website I found nutrition information, but no ingredient list. I walked over to the shop to check it out, and the proprietor was more than happy to assist me. He didn’t have an ingredient list but handed me the vanilla custard mix container no questions asked. The ingredients were listed on the side. There was your cream, egg yolks, and vanilla, but also artificial vanilla, tetrasodium pyrophosphate, and polysorbate 65 and 80. Doesn’t sound too appetizing. These additives are FDA approved, and they are very common, but when it comes to ice cream I’d rather stick to the real stuff.
- Cold Stone Creamery: I was convinced their ice cream was going to be a science experiment, but after checking out their ingredients for vanilla ice cream on their website I was pleasantly surprised. They use all-natural additives (guar gum, carageenan, cellulose gum, and annatto extract) except for polysorbate 80, but no dyes. Good job Cold Stone. I’ll take a Birthday Cake Remix please!
- Koa Koa: Let’s just say I’m a frequent flyer. They claim to be fat-free, have a wide variety of tasty flavors, and their toppings bar is mesmerizing. When the website didn’t tell me anything about their ingredients, I went in incognito to check it out. I asked the girl at the counter and she was about to go in the back to write down some ingredients, until she decided to ask her boss first. That’s when I was basically scolded for inquiring as it was a “secret” recipe. She kept pointing to the nutrition facts on the ice cream dispenser and told me all I needed to know was on there… even food allergy information. Yeah, not really. She did assure me, however, that they use fresh, all-natural ingredients with nothing artificial. I’d love to take her word for it, but I was a little turned off by her refusal to disclose the ingredients.
- Applegate Farm: Opening Spring 2011 so get ready. Applegate Farms was THE place to go when I lived in Montclair, so I was excited to see that we were getting one uptown. They aren’t shy on their website when it comes to ingredients and nutrition facts, so I scrolled down to simple vanilla ice cream and was shocked. Could someone tell me why vanilla ice cream needs sodium benzoate, yellow #5 and #6, and red #40? Vanilla ice cream should be a simple concoction, right? These additives are very controversial, so much that right now the FDA is hearing testimony about a food dye-ADHD link. Sodium benzoate is recognized as safe by the FDA in small amounts, however a study was done at the University of Sheffield that linked it to cell damage. I understand there are two sides to every story and studies aren’t always accurate, but honestly I would probably just avoid this whole situation and go somewhere else.