Does your scoop of vanilla ice cream contain no vanilla, fresh cream or milk?
Can vanilla ice cream still be considered vanilla ice cream if it contains no milk, no cream - and no vanilla?
A classic vanilla ice cream might be expected to be made from a custard of egg yolks, milk, cream, vanilla and sugar, which is then aerated and frozen.
Italian gelato simplifies this recipe even further by using only fresh milk rather than the mixture of cream and milk, yielding a smoother, softer ice cream.
A recent investigation in the UK by consumer advisor Which? sampled 24 ice creams.
It found that one in five of these 24 ice creams contained none of the three ingredients shoppers might expect in their tub of ice cream.
So what on earth do these ice cream impersonators have in them?
Unsurprisingly, manufacturers have cut costs by substituting cream and milk for dried skimmed milk or whey protein. Vanilla was often replaced by flavouring, and in some cases palm oil, coconut oil and palm kernel oil.
“Shoppers may be surprised to find out that the vanilla ice creams available to buy in supermarkets can vary wildly in terms of the ingredients they contain” a spokesperson for Which? said.
Only half of the ice creams sampled contained all three of the traditional ingredients used to make ice cream, with the remaining products containing only some or one of the ingredients.
Before 2015, these frozen frauds would not have classified as the real deal, owing to regulations stating that any product labelled ‘ice cream’ in the UK had to contain at least five per cent dairy fat and 2.5 per cent milk protein.
However, after the Food Information Regulations were reformed, this rule no longer applies. This change has allowed vegan alternatives such as Halo Top and Ben & Jerry’s vegan range of ice creams to be classed as just that, but at the peril of the dairy-loving population’s favourite frozen food.
Even better - make it yourself. Prior to popular belief, you don’t need any fancy gadgets or churners to make a lusciously smooth vanilla ice cream.