I used to love Breyers All Natural Ice-cream.


I loved it when it actually was ALL natural. Remember the TV ad with the kid trying to pronounce all the junk in “regular” ice-cream? Then he reads the Breyers label: Milk, Cream, Eggs, Sugar and Natural Vanilla.


Breyers now adds “tara gum” to their list of “natural” ingredients. I refuse to participate in a semantic debate about what constitutes natural. Their ice-cream no longer tastes good. It’s gummy. That’s what adding gum does to ice-cream.


I wrote Breyers a week ago and asked about why they would make this horrible change to a perfect product, sold at a premium price with a very loyal following. It’s been a week and I’ve not heard from them. Apparently, their communications are as gummy as their ice-cream.


The official reason (found on other websites) Breyers added the gum to their ice-cream is to aid in preserving the product through variances in transportation conditions. It works. The ice-cream doesn’t melt. It holds it’s gooey, sticky, nasty consistency if you leave it out of the freezer for an hour and then re-freeze it. Yummy!


They are going to save costs. The gum also stretches the product. Another brilliant move by another gutless CEO. Instead of raising the price—yes, it costs money to transport a frozen product—and making a big deal about being the last real ice-cream on the market, he caved. Add gum so the frozen goo can be shipped cross-country in August stacked in a cattle truck.


I no longer will pay $6.50 for a half gallon of no longer “natural” ice-cream no matter how loud they scream about tara gum being natural. Dirt is natural too but it doesn’t belong in ice-cream.


Proof? I used to give a teaspoon of Breyers Natural Vanilla ice-cream to our dogs if they had a pill to take. They loved it. Yesterday I gave them both a vitamin concealed in Breyers Natural Vanilla. Both dogs vomited within 5 minutes.  After I cleaned up the mess, I gave them their vitamins in a spoonful of vanilla yogurt. No barf. It wasn’t the vitamin folks. True story.
Frankly, this gummy “new” Breyers makes me sick too. We have four cartons in our freezer. I won’t eat it. My wife didn’t notice the change on the label and stocked up. Over stocked up.


The point? It’s easy to cut cost. CEOs get huge bonuses for cutting costs. Within a couple years of their brilliant cost-cutting measures, the same CEOs are on their way out with big golden parachutes as sales disintegrate.


Breyers is dead as a brand. Few consumers will pay double the price of typical ice-cream for “natural” ice-cream that tastes like typical ice-cream. It’s enough to make dogs puke.


Shameless Promotion: If your business is facing rising costs it may be better to raise prices than to cut costs. Let’s talk. Call my cell phone: 650.823.2803

Chris Reich, Author of TeachU’s Business Talk Blog