Ben & Jerry's Dropping "All Natural" From Labels

After the Center for Science in the Public Interest complained last month that “all natural” doesn’t include things like alkalized cocoa and hydrogenated oil, Ben & Jerry’s announced yesterday that it will stop using the phrase on its ice cream cartons.

It won’t change any recipes, though, so if you’re obsessed with a particular flavor you can rest assured it will still come with the same amount of alkalized cocoa, hydrogenated oil, dinosaur-shaped nuggets, pretzel hoops, and so on.

“Ben & Jerry’s To Drop ‘All Natural’ Label” [The Associated Press] (Thanks to Alice and Ben!)

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  1. MamaBug says:

    om nom nom chemicals!

  2. stavr0 says:

    UNILEVER is dropping “all natural” from their Ben & Jerry’s line of dairy products.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      Yes, Unilever owns Ben & Jerry’s…your point is? It’s common to refer to a company by its company name regardless of what parent company is.

      • PanCake BuTT says:

        Yes, but it would be more common on the common sense side to mention the parent company, so you can have an idea of where the subsidiary might be headed. & by the looks of it, nowhere good. Take that pecan and choke on it !

      • Bativac says:

        The point is that Ben and Jerry’s is not the company owned and run by a couple old hippies. Ben and Jerry’s is now owned by a gigantic corporate overlord. That makes the continuing appearance of the phrase “All Natural” seem a little more sinister.

        Personally I stick to Haagen Dazs.

        • craptastico says:

          Haagen Daaz is made by Nestle, a huge foreign owned corporation that also has large stakes in L’Oreal, so you’re huge conglomerate argument holds no water

        • colorisnteverything says:

          Nestle owns it. And exploits the third world for cocoa as well as, you know, tries to give out formula in areas without clean water. Yeah, babies dying is AWESOME.

        • BigRobot says:

          Haagen-Dazs also can’t figure out the volume of a pint and dropped the size to 14 oz while maintaining their same high prices. On the other hand, B&J still gives me 16 full ounces of alkilized goodness. =D

    • jessjj347 says:

      Ben and Jerry sold the company around 2001.

    • Tim says:

      You’re absolutely right. Consumers Union should post a correction on their Consumerist blog.

  3. scoobydoo says:

    It was only a matter of time till the overlords at Unilever killed the brand and turned it into another chemical soup of pretzels and chocolate flavored nuggets.

  4. Mundo says:

    Still one of my favorite flavors.

  5. duncanblackthorne says:

    ..and I guess I won’t bother with Ben & Jerry’s anymore, either.

    • Murph1908 says:

      I don’t understand. Nothing has changed but the label.

      Why would this make you abandon the product?

      • corrie06 says:

        Maybe he feels like he was lied to a betrayed?

        • pecan 3.14159265 says:

          All you had to do was read the ingredients label.

          • trentblase says:

            He did read the label. He read the part that said all-natural, and reasonably stopped reading. Maybe he didn’t want to know just how much fat and sugar was in there as long as it was “natural”?

            Plus, not everyone knows that alkalized cocoa is unnatural. To the layperson, alkalized cocoa may not seem any less natural than pasteurized cream.

            • ChuckECheese says:

              alkalized cocoa is delicious, the only kind i bake and cook with. it’s also called “dutched” cocoa, as the dutch are known for their alkalinity.

        • ExtraCelestial says:

          It’s not like the ingredient list is some big secret. It’s printed right on the container. (Even if it wasn’t, it’s ice cream. Accusations of betrayal and deceit are pretty dramatic regardless)

    • CoachTabe says:

      WTF? The product hasn’t changed – just the packaging.

  6. dreamfish says:

    “Well sir, we got a scorcher today! And to cool off, nothing beats Fruitopia! The iced tea brewed by hippies but distributed by a heartless, multi-national corporation!”

    The Simpsons, “Lisa’s Sax”

    • ExtraCelestial says:

      Wow that reminds me, whatever happened to Fruitopia?? I personally hated the taste, but at one time it was everywhere. I haven’t seen it in years.

      And then I remembered I was on the internet

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fruitopia

      Interesting!

      • nbs2 says:

        I remember spending gobs of money on that stuff my freshman year. I was living on campus and you could use your dining dollars at vending machines (who thought that was a good idea?). By the end of the first semester, I must have had a pyramid of 300 bottles.

        They had a lemonade (I think raspberry or strawberry) that was awesome when they were using glass bottles. The shift to plastic was when quality dropped precipitously and I stopped drinking it.

  7. justagigilo85 says:

    If you’re eating something with so much saturated fat in it, why would anyone care if it was natural?

    Kinda like having an Escalade Hybrid.

    • NeverLetMeDown says:

      +1

    • LandruBek says:

      They say trans-fat is worse than butter, so I wouldn’t be surprised if hydrogenated oil is unhealthier than the milkfat. We all know that Ice cream is not exactly the cornerstone of a healthy diet, but it doesn’t need to be made any unhealthier than it already is.

  8. Alvis says:

    At least it’s still organic!

  9. ClutchDude says:

    Alkalized cocoa is actually something pretty common. In fact, it’s better known as Dutch Cocoa, as the alkali cuts down on the bitterness, making it more palatable. It’s been going on for a long time as well, if I remember from the Good eats episode on it.

    I’m sure wikipedia agrees…if not, it will in 5 minutes.

    As for hydrolyzed oils…well…no clue.

    • Magspie says:

      Hydrogenated oils are trans fats. They’re bad for you.

      • Sandstar says:

        Not really. Fully saturated fats are “hydrogenated” sort of. Hydrogenation just involves bubbling hydrogen through unsaturated fats. The problem is that this procedure sometimes causes the carbon bonds to switch from a “cis” configuration to a “trans” configuration. And those are bad for you. For instance, there’s trans-fat free Crisco, now. So it is possible to hydrogenate without creating transfats

      • Michaela says:

        Icecreams are full of sugar and unnecessary calories. They are bad for you.

  10. sirwired says:

    Alkalized cocoa really makes a much tastier product, and it’s been around since the 1800’s. While it does involve some processing, it’s not intensive. (The beans are soaked in potassium carbonate before being ground.)

    • Dover says:

      This is why I agree with CSPI that it would be helpful for the FDA to issue some guidance about what it considers “natural”. Perhaps the minimal processing involved in Dutch cocoa would not disqualify it. As it is, labels like these don’t mean much and are confusing for consumers because every company has their own standards about what qualifies as natural.

      • zandar says:

        They would be better off just explaining what these ingredients are and why they are in it rather than using a bogus label that’s now widely acknowledged as meaningless.

  11. qbubbles says:

    Whatever, dudes. As long as no one fucks with Americone Dream.

    • nybiker says:

      ….And keep to a pint size on their containers. No more H-D for me ever since they went to 14 ounces (I still see stores that display price signs as “H-D pints $….” It’s not a pint anymore).

    • kozmo says:

      I still miss Totally Nuts (the Dilbert one)

  12. nybiker says:

    ….And keep to a pint size on their containers. No more H-D for me ever since they went to 14 ounces (I still see stores that display price signs as “H-D pints $….” It’s not a pint anymore).

    • incident man stole my avatar says:

      of course it’s a pint just like my pants from Old Navy are a size 32 http://consumerist.com/2010/09/old-navy-36-pants-actually-41.html

    • johnva says:

      Who cares what size the package is? They were honest and open about the change, and it’s printed right on the package. It’s not their fault if you don’t bother to look when comparing the prices, or if the store uses misleading price tags.

      I personally buy H-D because it’s a) simply a better product than Ben and Jerry’s, and b) they focus more on “plain” flavors, which I greatly prefer to the Ben and Jerry’s approach of swirling twenty different kinds of candy and flavored syrup into the ice cream. They aren’t really comparable products for most of their flavors, other than that they are both high-fat ice cream.

  13. Rudiger says:

    I started noticing this a while ago, its too bad considering the original vision the Ben & Jerry had. Getting very difficult to find any ice cream that is natural (whatever that means exactly). Hagan-dazs is the most “natural” pint I can fine. Ben & Jerry’s is still great and not as much of an offender as others. Try reading the side of a hood container, it’s like reading the periodic table!

    • johnva says:

      The Haagan Daz Five line is all natural, and very good.

      H-D has been a higher quality product than Ben and Jerry’s for quite some time. It just uses better ingredients, and it shows.

      • weestrom says:

        You wouldn’t believe it, but Breyer’s natural vanilla is both affordable and actually all food. Same ingredients as H-D Five, but a LOT cheaper. Cheaper still is Well’s Blue Bunny All Natural Vanilla, but that’s a regional brand. No HFCS and just milk, cream, sugar, eggs, and vanilla, iirc.

        • johnva says:

          No, I do believe it, and I’ve bought that before, because I actually read the ingredients. But they’re not exactly comparable products in that H-D is far higher fat content. They’re both good ingredients, but they’re for different segments.

        • bobloblaw says:

          and RGBH… which IMHO disqualifies it from being remotely ‘natural’.

    • SilentAgenger says:

      Try 365 brand if you’re near a Whole Foods. Very basic ingredients, basic flavors, but they rule (their chocolate ice cream rocks).

  14. B says:

    I make my own ice cream at home.
    No, really.

  15. PLATTWORX says:

    Odd, just a couple weeks ago I was eating some smores Ben & Jerry’s and said to myself “How are all the flavors all natural??” I see they are not.

  16. Bkhuna says:

    My love for Ben & Jerry’s went down as their Birkenstock ratio went up. That, and the demise of all my favorite flavors.

  17. Horselady says:

    All I know is that cheaper ice cream gives me a headache
    and B & J’s does not.

    And it TASTES so much better.

    Sometimes it’s on sale for 5 for $10 and I stock up…………YUMMY

  18. zifnab0 says:

    When they stopped making Fossil Fuel (or at least making it available in my area), I stopped buying Ben & Jerry’s.

    Sorry, but I’m not going to pay the same price for a pint as I pay for a gallon of regular ice cream, and I get it sans hippies.

  19. asherchang2 says:

    Why don’t they just change the name “alkalized cocoa” to “Dutch process cocoa”? They wouldn’t be lying, and the process isn’t some new-fangled unspeakable perversion of our beloved cocoa.

    You’d think that some in the natural foods movement would pick up some scientific literacy while they’re at it. “Chemicals” by definition encompass practically everything in the material world. Humans are mostly dihydrogen monoxide, after all.

  20. HungryGal says:

    Alkalized cocoa isn’t a very big deal- you can buy it in the baking isle of the grocery store. Its also known as “Dutch” Cocoa. The stabilization makes it darker in color and smoother in flavor, basically, more cocoa-ness for your buck.

    I’m a real hippie and won’t buy it, though. (I also only buy unbleached flour and organic cane sugar! I had a great moral debate last week when buying ingredients for White Chocolate M academia Bars- none of the ‘white chocolate’ chips actually contained cocoa butter. I went to the candy isle and figured that I could spend about$12 on REAL white chocolate bars instead of $2 on the bag of the fake stuff… regretfully I bought the fake stuff.)

    Read your food labels! I haven’t had Ben & Jerry’s in a long time, as I’m put off by the shear length of their ingredient lists. I’ll stick with Whole Fruit sorbets and that Five stuff. And fancy pants short ingredient list store brand gelato. Then I’ll throw my own chocolate chips or almond slivers or melted peanut butter on top. :) Its like LIVING IN A COLD STONE CREAMERY!

    • HungryGal says:

      I meant “alkalization” (which Firefox can’t spell) and surely many other things… My coffee just finished brewing mid rant, and I’m not fully awake.

    • JulesNoctambule says:

      Long ingredient lists don’t necessarily mean a product is bad for you. For example, if I were to make vanilla ice cream from scratch, then add home-made chocolate chip cookie dough chunks, both using 100% organic and fair trade products, I’d have to list all the ingredients that went into the ice cream and then the ones that are in the cookie dough, down to the components of the vanilla extract and the chocolate chips. That would be a long list, but saying that longer list means the product is worse for you is ridiculous and overly simplistic.

  21. colorfulRhyme says:

    what?
    you mean it’s just like most of the food we already eat?
    that’s absurd!

  22. watch me boogie says:

    The decline in quality of Ben & Jerry’s over the years is especially sad because they still make the best flavor combos, damn it.

  23. johnmc says:

    CSPI are the ass clowns that got people using mass quantities of hydrogenated fats in the first place.

  24. brad says:

    Why is it B&J wants all your personal info to comment on its site- birthdate, home address, etc. They must be selling your info. hard to support a so-called “cool” business when they are the same as Walmart in terms of info. And, hearing that they are not natural in their ingredients, it’s clear they have sold out – well, everyone eventually gets too big – so I have bought my last from them. The three franchises in my home town went belly up, so they shouldn’t get too smug.