Jack Nicklaus (Not So) Premium Ice Cream

by Sarah healthy fatsComments: 21

jack nicklaus ice cream

I was excited to hear recently that golf legend Jack Nicklaus was coming out with a premium line of ice cream.

As a lifelong golfer who was inspired throughout my high school and college golf career by the character and unmatched level of excellence of the Golden Bear, I was very hopeful that his line of ice cream would take commercial offerings to a new level of quality.

My first opportunity to take a look at Jack’s new line of ice cream occurred this weekend, while the legendary Masters Golf Tournament is being played. Interestingly, Jack hit a hole in one for first time since his PGA career started 54 years ago during the Masters Par 3 Contest!

As I went off to the grocery store to pick up a few items, I told my husband I would take a look at the Jack Nicklaus ice cream line while I was there.

“Just pick one up.  I’m sure it will be great quality,” he said.

With  “Coffee and Donuts” listed as one of the featured flavors on the Jack Nicklaus website, I wasn’t as confident, but still hopeful.

I arrived at our local Winn Dixie, walked to the ice cream section and opened the freezer door.  A number of Jack Nicklaus ice cream flavors stared back at me.  I chose to examine the “Homemade Vanilla” first.

Surely vanilla can’t be too bad, right?

Here is the ingredients list that greeted my soon-to-be-very-disappointed eyes.

Jack Nicklaus premium ice cream

I honestly did not in my wildest dreams think it would be this bad.  Not sure how you can possibly claim that this is “premium” ice cream let alone “homemade”.

My homemade vanilla ice cream contains 5 ingredients:  cream, eggs, maple syrup, vanilla extract, and arrowroot powder.

Even Haagen-Dazs commercial vanilla ice cream only has 5 ingredients: cream, skim milk, sugar, egg yolks, vanilla extract.

Jack’s version contains a plethora of GMOs (corn syrup and sugar (not cane) are listed as the 4th and 5th ingredients) plus natural and artificial flavors.

Why do you need artificial flavors for vanilla ice cream?  Just use vanilla extract for heaven’s sake!

Oh wait.

There’s not even any vanilla in there.


Then there’s the relatively small issue of guar gum and locust bean gum instead of the more nutritious and easily digested arrowroot powder that would be present in a true premium quality, homemade vanilla ice cream. Again, not a huge problem, but it demonstrates that cutting corners was definitely a goal.

Finally, there’s that bugaboo carrageenan. It’s classified as a probable carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (part of the World Health Organization).  In dairy products, carrageenan is used as a fat replacer and stabilizer when all or a portion of the healthy, natural, blood sugar stabilizing fats have been stripped away.

Guess they didn’t get the memo that saturated fat and cholesterol aren’t the bad guys after all.

What is all that “bad” fat replaced with? Typically GMO sugar and a boatload of chemicals (hidden in natural and artificial flavors).

Oh yeah.  That’s better.

I can hear the executives at The Schwan Food Company, in partnership with Jack on this project, bellowing in their palatial offices that these additives are “safe” and less than 2% of the total ingredients.

“They’re TRIVIAL, you know nothing, alarmist Mommy blogger!”


Well, when you add 2% here, 2% there, 2% everywhere for the lifetime of the average human being, that actually turns out to be A LOT. Especially for a child who has much less body mass than adults.

Jack Nicklaus Premium Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream?  Don’t think so.

At that point, I’d had enough just examining the label of the vanilla ice cream. I didn’t even want to see what the label for the Coffee and Donuts flavor looked like!  S-C-A-R-Y.

I put the pint of Jack Nicklaus ice cream back on the freezer shelf and closed the door, but not before texting a picture of the label to my husband to show him why I wasn’t going to be picking one up.

Jack, I know you probably aren’t aware of much, if any, of this.  You likely just put up the money to get the line off the ground.

But, now that you know, I hope you will make this right as you claim to be a true ice cream lover.

I don’t think you want your excellent reputation and name sullied by association with this low quality product.

Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist


More Information

Antifreeze in Your Ice Cream

Peanut Butter Swirl Ice Cream

Healthy, Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream (with video how-to)

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