|Product type||Frozen dessert brand|
In 1866 William A. Breyer began to produce and sell a relatively new concoction called "iced cream" in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, first from his home, and later via horse and wagon on the streets. Breyer’s son Henry incorporated the business in 1908. The formerly independent Breyer Ice Cream Company was sold to the National Dairy Products Corporation in 1926; National Dairy changed its name to Kraftco in 1969, and Kraft by 1975. Kraft sold its ice cream brands to Unilever in 1993, while retaining the rights to the name for yogurt products.
Prior to 2006, Breyers was known for producing ice cream with a small number of all-natural ingredients. In recent years, as part of cost-cutting measures since their move from Green Bay, Wisconsin to Unilever's U.S. headquarters in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, Unilever has reformulated many of its flavors with nontraditional, additive ingredients, significantly changing the taste and texture of their desserts as a direct result of these additions. Following similar practices by several of their competitors, and to the consternation of many former customers, Breyers' list of ingredients has expanded to include natural food additives such as Tara gum and Carob Bean gum, artificial additives such as maltodextrin and propylene glycol, and common artificially separated and extracted ingredients such as corn syrup, whey, and many others.
One significant result of these cost-cutting practices has been that the majority of their U.S. products no longer contain enough milk and cream to actually be considered "ice cream", and are now labeled "Frozen Dairy Dessert" instead. Likewise in Canada, where they are labeled "Frozen Dessert". Ultimately, only a select few former Breyers all-natural products are still truly "ice cream".
For several decades over 30% of Breyers products, including most of their products sold in the Northeastern U.S., were produced in a large plant outside Boston, in Framingham, Massachusetts. However, as part of further cost-cutting by Unilever, the plant was closed in March 2011.
In the 1990's, when Breyers was still producing all-natural ice cream, the company ran an original television advertising campaign in North America featuring a child who would attempt to read an ingredients list from another ice cream brand, experiencing extreme difficulty pronouncing several listed artificial additives. The child then turned to the Breyers list and quickly rattled off the four ingredients on the label of their Vanilla ice cream at the time: milk, cream, sugar, and vanilla.
Confusion with Dreyer's
In the Western U.S. and Texas, Breyers ice cream is sometimes confused with Dreyer's ice cream. While Henry Breyer founded Breyers in 1908 on the east coast of the U.S. (in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), William Dreyer and Joseph Edy co-founded their ice cream company, "Edy's Grand Ice Cream", in 1928 on the west coast of the U.S. (in Oakland, California). However, the roots of this confusion date to 1953, when "Edy's Grand Ice Cream" changed its name to "Dreyer's Grand Ice Cream". (See Dreyer's article for details.) As the two brands mutually expanded across the U.S., a similarity-of-name issue was likely inevitable due to the only differences in their rhyming names being a single letter and an apostrophe. By 1981, Breyers had yet to establish itself in states west of the Rockies or in Texas. Dreyer's, on the other hand, had become a national brand. Seeking to eliminate confusion between the two, Dreyer's decided to change the brand name of their products sold in the home market of Breyers from "Dreyer's Grand" back to their original but then-defunct name "Edy's Grand" in 1981. However, around that same time Breyers had begun an expansion towards the west coast - the home market of Dreyer's - and by the mid-1980s were distributing ice cream throughout the Western U.S. and Texas. Unlike Dreyer's, Breyers decided to keep their brand name nationally, and as a result, both Breyers and Dreyer's can be found on store shelves in the Western U.S. and Texas.
In the U.S., Breyers products are available in two sizes: 1.5 quart (1.41 liter), and 1 pint (0.47 liter). In Canada it is sold in 1.89 liter (U.S. half-gallon) containers.
They have a variety of different product lines, including:
- Standard (previously All Natural) - Uses ingredients mostly derived from natural sources.
- Smooth & Dreamy - Uses mostly all-natural ingredients with half the fat and fewer calories than regular ice cream.
- Double Churn Fat Free - "Creamy" fat-free ice cream.
- Double Churn No Sugar Added - "Creamy" ice cream with no sugar added.
- CarbSmart - A low-carb ice cream product with 4 grams of net carbohydrates per 1/2-cup serving.
Breyers frozen dessert flavors
- Natural Vanilla
- French Vanilla
- Vanilla, Chocolate, Strawberry
- Butter Pecan
- Mint Chocolate Chip
- Natural Strawberry
- Extra Creamy Vanilla
- Rocky Road
- Cherry Vanilla
- Homemade Vanilla
- Cookies & Cream
- Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough
- Vanilla, Chocolate
- Chocolate Chip
- Vanilla Fudge Twirl
- Extra Creamy Chocolate
- Black Raspberry Chocolate
- Butter Almond
- Creamy Chocolate
- Creamy Vanilla
- French Chocolate
- Caramel Praline Crunch
- Girl Scout Cookies® Thin Mints®
- Girl Scout Cookies® Samoas®
- M&M’S® Brand Chocolate Candies
- Strawberry Waffle Cone
- OREO® Cookies & Cream
- SNICKERS® Bar
- REESE'S® Peanut Butter Cups
- HEATH® English Toffee
- Waffle Cone with Chocolatey Chips
- REESE'S® Chocolate
- Mrs. Fields® Chocolate Chunk Cookie Dough
- OREO® Cookies & Cream Chocolate
- GOLDEN OREO® Cookies & Cream
- Mrs. Fields® Chocolate Fudge Brownie
- OREO® Cookies & Cream Mint
- Banana Split
- CHIPS AHOY!® Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Klondike® Krunch
- Vanilla & Almond Ice Cream Bar
- Vanilla Ice Cream Bar
- Fudge Bar
- Lactose Free Vanilla
- New - Lactose Free Chocolate
Breyers Yogurt was a brand of yogurt, owned previously by Kraft Foods then by CoolBrands International, a former Canadian frozen foods manufacturer. After CoolBrands ran into financial trouble, it was sold in 2007 to Healthy Food Holdings, an affiliate of Catterton Partners, a private equity firm based in Greenwich, Connecticut.
The yogurt was manufactured under license from Unilever at an upstate New York facility until the licensing agreement was terminated and the Breyers Yogurt line was discontinued in April 2011. Catterton continues to produce YoCrunch yogurt but without the Breyers co-branding.
Discontinued flavors and products
Breyer's Vienetta, Breyer's Ice Milk
- Good Humor-Breyers Ice Cream Company History
- Breyers Natural Ice Cream and Tara Gum: Unilever’s Response - A Daily Scoop
- Unilever to Close Green Bay Office
- Breyers Natural Vanilla Ice Cream Ingredients
- Breyers Extra Creamy Vanilla Ingredients
- Breyers Oreo Cookies and Cream Chocolate Ingredients
- What Happened to Breyer's Ice Cream? - Beach Street News
- Can you tell the difference between ice cream and frozen dessert? - The Toronto Star
- Comm-oddities: I Scream for Ice Cream
- Breyers' Framingham facility closes its doors
- Nestlé's U.S. Ice Cream Distribution Map - IceCream.com
- Paul B. Brown & Steve Kichen: "The Class of 1983: Breaking the Barriers," Forbes, Nov 7, 1983, p.168
- Roderick Royall: "Ice Cream Wars," Baltimore Business Journal, April 28, 1986, p.1
- Breyers' Complete Product Line
- Healthy Food Holdings to Acquire Breyers Yogurt Business Jan 2, 2007
- North Lawrence Dairy Done, Watertown Daily Times, Jan 18, 2011