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Posted: 3:36 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 12, 2014

The Best Ice Cream Is Also The Cheapest

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By Clark Howard

ClarkHoward.com


For as far back as I can remember, I have been thrifty. Some would say "cheap," and I have no problem with that word. But all through the years, I have had a mantra: There is one thing in life on which I will not compromise and that's ice cream.

I have an affinity for high butter fat, high quality ice cream. It is my weakness. For much of my adult life, I ate a pint of ice cream a day. Today, though, I have only about two pints a month. I've really modified my intake because I was struggling with weight as a result of my habit.

The galloping inflation in ice cream prices a few years ago also made it easier for me to wean myself off the expensive stuff!

When I travel around the country, I have my favorite ice cream haunts no matter where I am. I have a particular weakness for Graeter'sin Ohio and my favorite flavor of theirs is Toffee Chocolate Chip.

An ice cream sandwich that won't melt?

In recent days, there's been a YouTube video showing a man leaving a Walmart Great Value ice cream sandwich out in 80-degree weather that has taken off as a viral sensation. As of this writing, it's had more than 5 million views!

During the 2-minute clip, Dan Collins of KIKN 100.5 in Sioux Falls filmed himself leaving a single ice cream sandwich in the heat and sun for up to 75 minutes. The result? Only the most minimal of meltage after an hour and 15 minutes.

That really makes you wonder what's in those Walmart ice cream sandwiches! In a separate video report, Consumer Reports  notes that various gums and other FDA-approved additives in many different bradns of ice cream sandwiches are common throughout the world of processed foods. Thos additives include mono and diglycerides, guar gum, xanthan gum, calcium sulfate, carrageenan, carob bean gum, and polysorbate 80.

 

Who makes the best ice cream in the nation?

Consumer Reports also ranked the best ice creams in its June 2014 issue. Sadly, Graeter's was not among the 20 or so brands the magazine taste tested…so you'll just have to take my word on how good it tastes!

All rankings below are for vanilla flavor unless otherwise noted. They did a separate tally for butter pecan that you can see at ConsumerReports.org.

At the top of the tally, you have Ben & Jerry's at a cost of $1.03 per serving. B&Js scored 98 out of 100.  Following up in second place is Haagen-Dazs, which scored a 95 and also costs $1.03 per serving.

Talenti -- a brand that's quickly expanding around the country -- came in third. Their Tahitian Vanilla Bean Gelato scored an 83 and costs $1.19 per serving. True confession from cheap guy: I particularly like Talenti's Sea Salt Caramel pint, despite the high price!

As you can see, all of the ones just mentioned cost a lot of money. But guess what came in pretty much right with them? Costco's Kirkland Signature Super Premium at one-fourth the cost -- a mere 30 cents per serving with a respectable score of 82. It's the only 'best buy' on the Consumer Reports tally … and it has the highest butterfat content to boot!

All the rest, the national brands you think of, the dip stores you may have gone to, they all trailed the pack in the rankings. So if you say you get what you pay for, it's true…if it weren't for Costco coming in at a fourth the cost!

Do you tip when you go out to an ice cream parlor? Here's what most Americans said they do when confronted with a tip jar at the parlor.



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