Last Updated on April 19, 2020
I’ve recently become aware that many popular ice cream brands contain additives and fillers. Rather than simple ingredients such as milk, cream, and sugar, many ice creams contain ingredients such as guar gum, locust bean gum, carob bean gum, xanthan gum, soy lecithin, mono and diglycerides, and carageenan.
Aldi’s Regular Buy Belmont ice cream, which sells for $2.89 at my local store and includes flavors such as Moose Tracks and Cookies and Cream, contains some of these additives, so I decided to try Aldi’s Regular Buy Specially Selected Super Premium Vanilla Ice Cream that costs $4.19 at my store (Aldi recently raised the price, up from $3.89 previously). For $1.30 more, I avoid all those additives. The Specially Selected vanilla ice cream carton states it contains “5 simple ingredients.” The Specially Selected brand also comes in chocolate. For our purposes today, I’m just looking at the vanilla flavor.
One of the big questions, of course, is how Aldi’s higher-end vanilla ice cream compares to name brand ice cream such as Breyers Natural Vanilla Ice Cream.
Let’s take a look solely at the ingredients and nutrition info …
Aldi’s Specially Selected Super Premium Vanilla Ice Cream, $4.19 for 1.42 L:
- skim milk
- egg yolks
- vanilla extract
- 260 calories per 1/2-cup serving
- 11 grams saturated fat
- 70 mg sodium
- 23 grams sugar
Breyers Natural Vanilla Ice Cream, $5.69 non-sale price from a local traditional grocery chain (purchased on sale for $3.99):
- vegetable gum (tara)
- natural flavor (including vanilla beans)
- 130 calories per 1/2-cup serving
- 4 grams saturated fat
- 35 mg sodium
- 14 grams sugar
From an ingredients perspective, the Aldi ice cream is the winner because it contains only whole, easily identifiable ingredients. The Breyers ice cream contains an additive called tara gum, which apparently replaces much of the healthy fat in ice cream and also gives the ice cream a smoother and creamier texture.
Nutritionally, the Aldi ice cream has double the calories, more than double the saturated fat, and a lot more sugar. The Breyers ice cream packs less of a punch in terms of calories, saturated fat, sodium, and sugar. It’s worth noting the Aldi ice cream has egg yolks, while the Breyers does not. The egg yolks in the Aldi ice cream and the tara gum in the Breyers may account for the caloric and nutritional differences. (Editor’s note: since publication of this post, several readers have pointed out that another reason for the caloric difference may be that Breyers whips more air into its ice cream.)
I also noticed the Breyers ice cream, while containing tara gum, is packed in a carton that features prominent graphics stating that it’s made with “fresh cream, sugar, and milk” and that it’s made with non-GMO sourced ingredients, with Rainforest Alliance Certified vanilla. The milk and cream are from cows that were not treated with artificial growth hormones. The dairy products are “all American” and “colors and flavors come from natural sources.” The carton also says the vanilla (and fruit, in the case of other Breyers flavors) are real and are sustainably farmed. It’s a lot of health boasting for a product that contains an indigestible gum ingredient.
The Aldi ice cream carton, meanwhile, emphasizes that it has those “5 simple ingredients.” There seems to be a lot to like about that.
So, how do the Aldi ice cream and the Breyers ice cream taste?
In a blind taste test (we ate our ice cream atop brownies made from a mix purchased at Aldi), my two children preferred the Breyers. I also liked the Breyers best, but my husband preferred the Aldi ice cream. My children and I liked the texture of the Breyers because it was smoother and creamier. My husband preferred the flavor of the Aldi ice cream, despite the fact that the texture wasn’t as smooth.
It turns out, my daughters and I were noticing the tara gum in the Breyers brand, which gives ice cream a texture that is smoother than it normally would be. Breyers states that customers prefer this newer formulation in taste tests, but that may be because so many of us have little experience with real homemade ice cream.
So, three fourths of our household preferred the Breyers simply from a taste/texture perspective, and one fourth of our household went with the Aldi ice cream.
In terms of cost, if you buy name brand Breyers Natural Vanilla Ice Cream during a good sale, you can purchase it for less money than Aldi’s Specially Selected Super Premium Vanilla Ice Cream. If the Breyers brand isn’t on sale, though, it’s a better deal cost-wise to buy the Aldi ice cream because it costs about $1.50 less.
In terms of taste, during a blind taste test, most (but not all) of my family preferred the Breyers ice cream over Aldi’s ice cream. The Breyers ice cream was smoother and creamier, but unfortunately a little internet research indicates that smoother texture is because Breyers adds tara gum, a vegetable gum, to its ice cream these days.
On the other hand, the Aldi ice cream is made with only whole, natural ingredients: just skim milk, cream, sugar, egg yolks, and vanilla. That’s it. The Aldi ice cream has significantly more calories, fat, sodium, and sugar than the Breyers, but it’s real food. It’s ice cream the way our grandparents or great-grandparents would have made it at home back in the day.
I’m a bit torn. The Breyers ice cream tasted great, but I don’t like knowing that the taste and texture are, in large part, due to a vegetable gum additive. I respect Aldi for carrying a product that contains only real, whole food ingredients. For that reason, I am seriously considering sticking with Aldi when it comes to ice cream. It’s probably the next best thing if you don’t have an ice cream machine for home use.
Worth noting that Breyers being half the calories may be the result of more air being whipped into it, bulking up the volume, and making it easier to scoop
Props to Aldi for having an all-natural ice cream! The fact that it is higher in fat and calories is a good thing to me. If I am having a dessert, I want it to TASTE GOOD. Fat makes ice cream taste good. If I want to consume fewer calories, I will simply skip dessert. Skipping dessert is far preferable to eating a lower calorie disgusting garbage “frozen dessert.” Breyer’s (and Ben and Jerry’s) used to be soooo good but now they are awful.
I agree. I hate dairy dessert!!!! It’s not ice cream… if I want air… I’ll breathe… not eat ice cream!
Read the labels. Some say ice cream, some say dairy dessert. Under federal law, to be called “ice cream”, a product must meet a certain standard of identity, which in this case requires that there be at least 10% milk fat in the product. That generally would come from the cream in the product. If the product does not meet the federal “recipe” for ice cream, it has to be called something else.
Jen I agree with you 100%. Breyers used to make good ice cream but not anymore. You can call Breyers dessert ,but not ice cream.
Just want Aldi’s to know their “Premium” Vanilla or Chocolate ice creams are off the chart GOOD!!!! Best ice cream I’ve EVER had.I will buy no other.It is SOOOOO good AND no junk in it.Thank you Aldis!!
This site isn’t run by Aldi, but you can contact them at this link: https://www.aldi.us/en/contact/
For fans of the ORIGINAL Breyer’s Vanilla the Aldi comes awfully darned close. Was delight to find it as were my tried and true tastebuds
The new Breyer’s ruined a “classic” but Aldi’s — minus the vanilla bean specks — restores for those of us of a certain age, the classic product quite well!
Savor it and remember!
Just bought the Aldi super premium vanilla and their chocolate too. There is no doubt Aldi has the better product. Breyers is garbage since the mega-conglomerate Unilever acquired it and cheapened it up. I can tell Aldi is not blown full of air because it freezes hard and the quality is right on the ingredient list. A great product at a fair price.
Preach it, Brother! You nailed it!! Melt a scoop of each and check out the poofy, watery mess in the Breyer’s bowl. I was thrilled to find this Aldi’s Special Vanilla. I wouldn’t even trade for Hagendaas 🙂
It essentially is Hagen Das for about half the price.
Absolutely right. I just purchased this recently, and it wins hands down. Most other “half gallon” sized containers that I’ve seen have almost half the calories, simply because there is more air whipped into the product. Well done, Aldi!
That’s exactly what it tastes like! Haagen-Dazs. Costco sells super premium that is absolutely totally delicious very very creamy and does not taste like hagen-dazs which is exactly what I was hoping Aldi super premium with taste like but noooooooo very disappointed 😞
If I wanted Haagen-Dazs I’d buy Kirkland brand 18 bars in the box for 8.99 that identical to the Haagen-Dazs 15 bars for $11.99
Agee with others above. = Important! Read the weight in grams per serving and u will be shocked at how much air is whipped into most (including Breyers) ice cream – Except for Aldi Super Premium . It weighs 101 grams per half cup. That partially accounts for the higher calories . Some people like the airy taste. But not me. I only buy Aldi Super P. vanilla – then add cocoa and/or natural peanut butter or cinnamon or crushed graham cracker or molasses or ????
Density is what matters, not the ‘1/2 cup’ serving, or rather the mass in that half cup. Breyers, Aldi’s lower end Belmont, and most ice creams whip a ton of air into the mix, meaning that you can eat a huge amount and not feel full. But just a little of the good stuff will be satisfying.
Have not yet tried Aldi premium. The best deal on premium used to be Kirkland at Costco, then they kept raising the price, then they stopped making it as Kirkland brand. Now it’s like 14.39 per gallon. The Aldi is a better deal, 11 something per gallon.
Another good sprinkling on vanilla is a bit of instant coffee (if you like coffee ice cream).
i love Aldi butter pecan.
if smoothness is an issue.. microwave the container for 14 seconds or so… instant smooooooooth 🙂
ice cream is not a diet product..it’s either good or it’s not.. dieters? eat less if you can..!
I bought the Aldi’s Ice cream and you can taste the vanilla and it takes me back to when I was young! It is a treat and I love the texture of Aldi’s compared to other ice creams which I could never find a brand I liked. But now I have! My husband went out and picked up the chocolate ice cream from Aldi’s. I know it will make excellent milkshakes! But now I have! ALDI!
Difference is Breyers has Lactose free
I was so disappointed when the Breyers brand changed so many years ago. I remember buying some cherry vanilla, which used to be one of my favorites, and being shocked at the change. Put a spoonful in my mouth and said “What the &*)% is this? I looked at the ingredients and my heart sank. Such a difference from the Milk, cream, sugar and flavorings that I had come to love so much. So many additives. Sob, whimper. I looked at all the flavors next time I was in the store. Though the vanilla, chocolate, strawberry and mint chip escaped with only having the tara gum added, the rest of the flavors were completely destroyed with many additional additives. Once in a while I have some Mint Chip, but never anything else. Believe it or not, my go to is now Blue Bunny vanilla bean. The rest of the blue bunny line is garbage, but the vanilla bean is Milk, cream, vanilla extract and egg yolks. Lots of air in it, but tasty and nicely priced. That being said, if there was an Aldi in my town, I would be enjoying that all the time instead Wonderful treat at a great price.
I LOVE the super premium Aldi ice cream. BrookieDough is my go to as it has a nice balance of vanilla to chocolate and is not as intense as The Make Fudge flavor. A pint lasts me quite a while since I only eat a little at a time. My only regret is that Aldi doesn’t make my favorite flavor, mint chip, in the super premium line. I would be a very happy camper if they did
I usually get the turkey hill natural Belgian chocolate…same deal with just a few ingredients. They only have a few flavors of the natural line, and seem to carry less as time goes on. All have been great, but that’s definitely a chocolate ice cream I advise trying as well. Today we picked up the aldi premium chocolate, and all I can say is wow…the carton is heavy! I knew it would be a different experience because of that alone. I love it, and it’s a tad more icy and solid…melts slower (which is a pro for us!) Will definitely be a staple.
Maybe you should compare it to other Super Premium Vanilla Ice Creams, like Trader Joes Brand, Costco’s Kirkland Brand (formerly Humbolt) and Sam’s Club Members Mark. Not sure of any other Super Premium Vanilla Ice Cream makers.
I thought the super premium ice cream at Aldi would be good but I was immensely disappointed.. barely any chocolate flavor..tasted as if it was made from water instead of milk or cream not smooth texture..will not buy again
Your right ! I agree ! Was ready to return it! Will never buy it again!
Premium” ice cream must contain 12-14 percent milk-fat; “super-premium” must contain 14-16 percent milk-fat.
I would love to volunteer to a blindfolded taste test between Aldi’s Super Premium Vanilla and Haagen Daz.
aldi beats hagen daz hands down. i used to only eat hagen daz until i found aldi. it is theBEST BEST BEST
Yes, Aldi is Super Premium, Hagen is premium. Its an ice cream quality classification. There are other Super Premium Vanilla’s including Trader Joes, Costco’s Kirkland made Humboldt, and Member’s Mark by Sam’s Club.
Aldi’s Super Premium is probably the best ice cream on the market because it’s only cream and sugar. You know, what ice cream is supposed to be.
It’s hard to scoop because of the high butter fat content, another trait of the best ice creams.
If you get a chance try other Super Premium Vanillas. I think Trader Joes and Costco’s Kirkland Brand is slightly better than the Aldi brand.
It freezes so hard you can’t get it out of the carton! I broke a scoop trying to get it out. I’ll go back to Walmart or Breyer’s – no problem there.
Use a metal scoop….Breyers does not freeze hard because it is full of gum and preservatives.
I think that ALDIs super premium vanilla is the best there is. That is, if you can catch it in stock.
Haagen Daz was always my go to ice cream way back to when I first bought it in 1970. Having lived on 2 dairy farms, I have very high expectations for “iced cream”. H-D was a dense chewy creamy ice cream with the simplest ingredients. Over the years it got lighter in weight, then they shrunk the pint down to 14 oz.’s. So I stopped buying it because I just didn’t like how they were screwing everyone out of greed. But then… at Aldi, I discovered “Specially Selected” Vanilla Ice Cream … and WOW, my expectations, after so many years, have been fulfilled!!! Its ingredients are as simple as it gets: cream, skim milk, sugar, pasteurized egg yolks and vanilla. Not like Ben & Gerry’s which has water, guar gum and carrageenan! And even more surprising is Aldi’s price!!! When looking for good ice cream, you really should be looking for the one with the simplest ingredients list. Aldi’s “Specially Selected” Vanilla Ice Cream is everything a vanilla ice cream should be: thick, creamy and with a nice balance of sugar and vanilla. It’s a 5 star buy!
Bought this for the first time today.
I was surprised there was no plastic seal between the lid and ice cream.
Is this normal or did I get a ‘bad’ one?
It is normal. Just hope D’Adrien Anderson didn’t open it before you.
Crap. I just googled that guy and would like to unsee it.
But thank you for the details of it being normal to have no seal.
I had contacted Aldi via their support page and was thanked by auto-reply and told to call if I had more questions.
After calling I was told they’d look into it and get back to me in 1-2 weeks.
It took two days, but I did finally get a reply:
“The 48oz Specialty Selected ice creams produced at House of Flavors do not include a tamper-evident heat seal.”
I don’t think I’ll be buying a second time.
I absolutely Aldi Specially Selected vanilla ice cream. The texture and taste are unbeatable. It is very refreshing to eat. The chocolate is great also, but vanilla is my favorite. I wish other flavors were available — strawberry and chocolate chip mint for instance.
I’ve been purchasing Speciality Select at Aldi’s for quite a few years now. OMG, it is the very best when it comes to vanilla ice cream. That’s just my opinion but being a connoiosseur for more than 70 years of vanilla ice cream, nothing comes close to it.