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.
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!
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
The Truth about Twistee Treat
The front of the package is the giveaway: “Homemade Vanilla Flavored Ice Cream” as opposed to Vanilla Ice Cream which they are implying but not saying outright. Like most cheap mainstream ice cream, it is a fraud.
Any ice cream that has corn syrup in it is a fraud and the people who make it, know it.
LOL, TZ and Tim. Great comments!!!!
Laughter IS the best medicine.
There is a brand by fresh market that I occasionally buy that is only several acceptable ingredients and I can’t remember if it is the natural or French vanilla – always read the ingredients cause they can change quickly:) when the ingredients list is longer than a few real foods, don’t buy.
I just discovered Three Twins brand at Whole Foods. Ingredients are: organic milk, organic cream, organic fair trade evaporated cane juice, organic egg yolks, organic nonfat milk, organic vanilla extract, organic vanilla beans. Not bad. Wish non-fat milk was not there, but better than most. Tastes very good! I have started making my own ice cream, but in a pinch it’s good to have a back up.
Not bad at all! Not as good as homemade, but fine in a pinch or when traveling. Thanks for sharing 🙂 I think I will switch to this as Haagen-Dazs has not assured me that their sugar is nonGMO. It might be, I just don’t know for sure … I know Haagen-Dazs has gone on record saying their vanilla is from a nonGMO extract process (unlike basically all other major ice cream brands).
I’ve grown up on Häagen-Daz, and it is fabulous, but since switching to traditionally preparing all my food, I’ve realized you can’t get top-notch dairy products of any kind at the store–they’re all going to be made with pasteurized and homogenized milk products no matter what. What’s your opinion on this, Sarah?
In this case, how do you make your own ice-cream at home? I can only get milk from my local dairy farm, not cream by itself. It seems that scooping it off the top will never yield enough cream for a full batch of ice-cream.
There is a link in the article to my homemade ice cream recipe with a how-to video if you are more visual.
Is your recipe posted?
Yes, it’s linked to in the post above. I’ll add it to the More Information section too so it’s more visible.
Can’t wait to see what’s in Tiger Wood’s ice cream!
Oh Sarah what do you expect , this people are all the same , they don’t care what they advertise if is money in the middle, is so shame
Given Jack’s reputation for excellence, I truly did expect much better. It seems his good name has been taken advantage of by his partner company who have dressed up a garbage ice cream in a nice looking package and put Jack’s image on there to drive sales. Such a scam.
Maybe it should be labeled as Milli Vanilli flavor. Served on the Loose Ship (loose ships sync lips).
Kelly the Kitchen Kop
Like you, I’m to the point where I’ve almost given up finding decent store-bought foods beyond the few things I know I can get there that aren’t too bad. Where I get into trouble is when I’m grabbing one of those not too bad items, and I see another Mom casually grabbing some brand I just KNOW is rotten. I truly try to keep my mouth closed, but sometimes an involuntary blurb shoots out before I can stop it. “You might want to check that ingredient list, it’s really bad, this other one is better.” (Or worse, in the milk section, I’ll see a Mom buying fat-free ULTRA-pasteurized milk — sad huh?! That she just doesn’t know?! So I might just say, “Check that date, it’s 2 months out, that’s how you know it’s really bad, the regular whole milk is much healthier…”)
Who knows, they probably just think I’m a wacko. And they’re right. 🙂
Can you recommend any healthy brands of ice cream?
I have found the very best quality and flavor of store brand ice-cream at, of all places, ALDI!!! It’s their Specially Selected line in a black paper carton. There is only vanilla and chocolate, but really, what else do you need? Ingredients for vanilla are: cream, skim milk, sugar, egg yolks, vanilla extract. That. Is. It!! The flavor is amazing and the texture is heavenly. Next to homemade this is it! Buy one of each on your next trip. You won’t be disappointed!