While it’s often a race for kids to eat their ice cream before it starts dripping down their hands, that’s not an issue with some ice cream sandwiches. It seems certain brands won’t completely melt—even when they’re left outside for half a day.
Christie Watson, from the Cincinnati-area, made the discovery last week when her son left his ice cream sandwich on her outdoor patio overnight. The Walmart Great Value Ice Cream Sandwich hadn’t fully melted, despite the summer temperature of 26 degrees Celsius. Naturally, Watson found the discovery a little strange.
“I looked at the box, and it doesn’t say artificial ice cream—it says ice cream,” Watson told WCPO Cincinnati.
To confirm her findings, Watson left another ice cream sandwich out overnight, which yielded the same result.
“There was still ice cream there,” she says. “So I thought to myself: what am I feeding to my children?”
The mother-of-two took her concern to the local news station, where they tested the ice cream for themselves. The station experimented with the Walmart ice cream sandwich, alongside a Klondike Bar and some Haagen Dazs ice cream.
After 30 minutes of sun, WCPO found the Haagen Dazs reduced “to a puddle,” the Klondike Bar “a semi-solid,” and the Walmart ice cream sandwich was “a more-or-less intact ice-cream sandwich.”
While the pint of Haagen Dazs contains just cream, milk, sugar, eggs, and vanilla, according to Walmart’s website, their ice cream sandwiches contain additional ingredients, including: corn syrup, 1% or less of mono-and diglycerides, guar gum, calcium sulfate, carob bean gum, cellulose gum, carrageenan, artificial flavour, and annatto for colour.
The addition of stabilizers to the ice cream, such as gums and emulsifiers, not only make it cheaper to produce, but also slows the melting process, helping extend ice cream’s shelf life.
In response to the news station’s experiment, Walmart stated: “Ice cream melts based on how much butterfat and cream [is] in it. Our sandwiches contain less, and are more affordable. But they are healthy and meet all FDA guidelines.”
Though more expensive, if you want old fashioned ice cream that melts in the sun, look for organic or natural ice cream—like Mapleton’s organic ice cream—where the first ingredients should be cream and sugar. You can also try making your own: our easy recipe for homemade ice cream sandwiches is made with graham crackers and chocolate ice cream.