• Walmart Should Explain Why Their Ice Cream Sandwiches Won’t Melt

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    Walmart Should Explain Why Their Ice Cream Sandwiches Won’t MeltThe internet has been absolutely buzzing for at least one week about Walmart's Great Value ice cream sandwiches that won't melt after 12 hours under the sun in 80-degree heat. This was roused by Christie Watson when she reported that her child’s sandwich ice cream just won’t melt.

    Some consumers are panicking while others are trying to allay this ringing of bell.

    In the real story's experiment, Haagen Dazs melted rapidly (it only has 5 ingredients), then Klondike sandwiches at slower rate – but it still melted. News anchor John Maltese is certain that Walmart brand is harmless according the FDA and repetitively states not to waste their money on first-class brands.

    Now, here's what's in Great Value vanilla ice cream sandwiches. All bolding below is mine.


    Ice Cream (Milk, Cream, Buttermilk, Sugar, Whey, Corn Syrup, Contains 1% Or Less of Mono-And Diglycerides, Vanilla Extract, Guar Gum, Calcium Sulfate, Carob Bean Gum, Cellulose Gum, Carrageenan, Artificial Flavor, Annatto For Color), Wafers (Wheat Flour, Sugar, Soybean Oil, Palm Oil, Cocoa, Dextrose, Caramel Color, Corn Syrup, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Corn Flour, Food Starch-Modified, Salt Soy Lecithin, Baking Soda, Artificial Flavor).

    What we're looking at are a bunch of fillers, stabilizers, emulsifiers and thickeners. Cellulose Gum, for instance, is made from wood pulp. This post suggest it absorbs 20 times its weight. Emulsifiers help with oil/water dispersal. Furthermore, ice cream can be filled with a lot of air. There are a few more industry shortcuts at the bottom of this article.

    Walmart had this response:

    “Ice cream melts based on the ingredients including cream. Ice cream with more cream (sic) will generally melt at a slower rate, which is the case with our Great Value ice cream sandwiches….[emphasis mine]”

    Higher fat content will melt quicker. Higher water will melt lengthier. But I deviate. I need to highlight this – we're not pondering about slower rates, but no melting rate.

    Some websites offer clarifications about Walmart's ice cream and why we people should let go and calm down- nothing to see here. They ultimately say the same things about fat content, stabilizers, gums, emulsifiers, corn syrups and thickeners. A lot of articles on the topic cites the Post-Gazette article even though it contradicts Walmart's statements and never talks about ice cream that forgets to eventually melt.

    “ It’s more solid and less melty, so it won’t fall apart in your hand when you bite it. These properties are thanks to the viscosity added by guar gum and calcium sulfate.

    Guar gum is a polysaccharide (a molecule made of multiple sugars) extracted from the guar bean. It’s a plain white powder that is obtained by milling the matured beans. If “natural” food is a concern for you, guar gum is about as natural as it gets. It acts as an emulsifier, which means it thickens in water and stabilizes thawing…

    Calcium sulfate is useful for trapping moisture, making it a perfect partner for guar gum. The combination of these two materials thickens the ice cream and holds it together, even as the “ice” part melts. The addition of cellulose gum (another polysaccharide) enhances this effect, but it’s mostly guar gum and calcium sulfate doing the heavy lifting.”


    These explanations are meant to simmer down if not mitigate public concern but one pattern is for sure – no one can answer why this product won’t melt. Stabilizers keep the shape and texture but what keeps the hardness on hot summer days?

    It's not true that ice cream sandwiches don't melt. They do, even with similar thickeners, emulsifiers, stabilizers and fillers.

    Are there other unlisted ingredients that Walmart's brand is not disclosing? Thanks to this federal regulation – CFR Title 21, Sec. 101.100 – we don't know. It exempts a lot food labeling requirements, falling back on “industry standard.”
    Just because we're not all food chemists doesn't mean Christie Watson or you or I don't have a reason to question why a food product won't break down like its non-altered counterpart. It was perfectly rational for her to think, “What am I feeding my children?” Just because some of the ingredients are nature-derived does not make them all natural. Just because ingredients are generally recognized as safe (GRAS) by the FDA does not mean they've been proven not to harm. Raising questions does not equal alarmism, but rather, it equals using your thinking faculties.

    You can spend your money how and where you want it by all means. You can spend it on buying this stuff and the mysteries it possess or you can buy the actual kind of ice cream that everyone knows one thing about – it melts.


    Don't forget to read the rest of the article at



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