Before about 2006, I recommended Breyer's ice cream to everyone as "the best", at least as far as what was available in the average US market. It was made with simple ingredients, and had the best texture of any ice cream available. Unlike some "ice creams" that are so far from the real thing that they won't even melt, Breyer's melted in the mouth most delightfully. And it tasted great, too. That's because they didn't add gum, or any of that other crap.
Then one day, I noticed an abrupt change in the taste and texture of Breyer's ice cream. I looked at the ingredients and noticed that they had added gum. I went to their website and noticed that they had also sold their soul to Unilever Corporation, a huge conglomerate with a corporate mission to buy up all the unique brands with good reputations and followings, and turn them into mass-produced crap while wringing out as many bucks as they can until people notice. Now I recommend that people don't buy Breyer's ice cream.
I quickly emailed Breyer's about it, and got a response from Unilever saying they had added gum to improve quality! Cutting through the corp-jargon, I noticed that what they were really saying is that they were trying to boost profits by reducing quality control in their distribution network, and after the ice cream started to melt and refreeze, turning icy, they decided to add gum to cover up the issue. Saying as much in my response, I got back a rather haughty reply saying "At Breyers were proud of our all natural heritage!!" [sic]
I wrote back, noting that it was fitting that she had used the word "heritage" — something they (Unilever) had inherited from the previously great Breyer's Ice Cream company, and which they were proceeding to thoroughly destroy. Do you remember the old Breyer's Ice Cream commercials? They usually featured a young child trying to read the ingredients in a competitor's ice cream. Confronted with phrases like "soy lecithin", "potassium sorbate", and "sodium nitrate", the child struggled. When handed a box of Breyer's ice cream, he was able to quickly and happily read off the ingredients: milk, cream, sugar, and strawberries.I couldn't find the ones I remember, but I found this one, which is older, but gives the idea:
I included in that same letter a copy of the ingredients list from one of Unilever's new ice creams selling under the Breyer's name:
I asked her if that's something they are proud of. I never got a reply.
UPDATE: Also, under Unilever, Breyer's ice cream contains milk from cows injected with Monsanto's rBGH (recombinant bovine growth hormone, also called rBST). Injecting cows with rBGH causes deterioration of their health, such that they suffer debilitating diseases, become lame, and often must be euthanized, which is why it's banned in most countries. It's also been linked to cancer, and while it's probably safe to drink milk from hormone-injected cows, most people don't want anything to do with it. But Unilever doesn't mind feeding it to you. Anything to make a buck, right?
UPDATE: It has now gotten to the point where the majority of Breyers' products no longer contain enough milk and cream to be legally considered ice cream. Often they contain more corn syrup than cream (e.g. see the ingredients list above), and if you look closely you'll see that most of their products are now labeled "frozen dairy dessert" or "frozen dessert" instead. Only a few (e.g. vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry) can still be legally called "ice cream". It's pretty sad when Breyer's Ice Cream has degraded to the point where it can't even be legally called "ice cream" anymore.
UPDATE: You can see on YouTube that Breyer's frozen dairy dessert doesn't melt, even after sitting out for days.