Thursday, May 8, 2008


Here is a quick list of some of the most common brands still making containers of ice cream:

Ben & Jerrys,  Blue Bell,  Blue Bunny,   Breyers,   Dreyers/Edys,   Dolcezza,   Friendlys,   Giffords,   Graeters,   Haagen-Dazs,   Homemade Brand,   Hood,   Jeni's,   Kemps,   Klondike,   Magnum,   Mars/Dove,    Nestle,    Perrys,    Pierres,    Talenti,    Tillamook,    Turkey Hill,   Van Leeuwen

Here is my freezer aisle breakdown based on pricing.

Craft / High end Brands ($$$$)

Jeni's Ice Cream: Out of Columbus, Ohio. Used to be $9.99 a pint.

McConnell's, Salt & Straw, and Ample Hills used to be harder to get
  > McConnell's is now in stores like Wegmans & Whole Foods
   > > Ample Hills hit the Northeast (Roche Bros) in 2021

Tea-rrific: Tea infused ice cream out of Connecticut, did they shut down in 2023?

High Road: Out of Georgia (est 2010), they also run Helados La Neta
     as of 2018, they own Ciao Bella Gelato (est 1983)

Dolcezza Gelato - based in DC, somewhat hard to find in my area but tasty (est 2004)

Van Leeuwen - French ice cream and non-dairy options out of Brooklyn (est 2008)

Premium Brands ($$$)

Ben & Jerry's: I'm going to have to give the top spot to B&J. They make top notch ice cream in all kinds of wonderful flavors, plus they're tree huggers, so it's all good! (I tend to be a little hard on Ben & Jerry but it's only because I expect perfection in every pint)
Owned by: Unilever (since 2001)
U.S. Sales: 2019 #1, 2022 #1

Haagen-Dazs: B&J's very worthy competitor. H-D flavors tend to be a bit more "classic"...sorry, best word I can think of, but these guys are neck in neck in my mind.
Owned by: Froneri (announced Dec 2019)
U.S. Sales: 2019 #2, 2022 #2

Talenti Gelato: Started in 2003 as a gelato stand, Talenti has grown to be the #1 gelato maker in the US and the #3 premium brand in the country. Oh, I compiled a list of all their flavors here.
Owned by: Unilever (announced 2014)
U.S. Sales: 2019 #6, 2022 #8

Graeter's: the "french pot process" has earned this company well deserved respect and loyalty by many. 
Owned by: Graeter's (since 1868)

Mainstream / Middle of the Road Brands ($$)

Breyers: I was raised on Breyers, but they have fallen out of my favor as most of their flavors are now "frozen dairy desserts".
Owned by: Unilever since Fall 1993, founded in 1866
U.S. Sales: 2019 #4, 2022 #4

Turkey Hill: Turkey Hill continues their expansion westward as the #4 producer of ice cream. They made a lot of great quality flavors but have switched many flavors to frozen dairy dessert.
ice cream started in 1954, owned by Kroger from Aug 1985 to 4/29/19
Owned by: Peak Rock Capital 
U.S. Sales: 2019 #5, 2022 #6

Friendly's: Friendly's use to make some pretty great ice cream but have resorted to frozen dairy dessert like the other mainstream brands. They are all over the east coast. Note: They stopped making their dessert rolls in 2021.
Owned by: bought by Dean Foods (5/9/16) >> sold to DFA in 2020

Blue Bunny: They had a ton of fun flavors and novelties but they too slid in to the world of frozen dairy dessert. Novelties are easier to find then pints in my area.
Owned by: Ferrero acquired Wells' Enterprises in late 2022, founded in 1913
U.S. Sales: 2019 #9, 2022 #9

Kemps Surprisingly, Kemps still makes actual ice cream. They are big in the midwest, but unfortunately there are very few of their products in my area.
Bought by HP Hood LLC in 2004 >> sold to DFA in 2011

Dreyer's (Edy's): I was a pretty big fan of Edy's in college, but they fell out of favor when they ditched awesome flavors for terrible frozen dairy desserts. Their branded product lines have gotten fairly quiet in recent years as Nestle moves towards co-branded ice creams.
Owned by: Froneri (announced Dec 2019)
U.S. Sales: 2019 #7, 2022 #5

Dean's: Dean's was the number three ice cream manufacturer in the US after purchasing Friendlys. They sold ice cream under Dean's Country Fresh as well as Mayfield, PET, Meadow Gold, etc. Unfortunately they went bankrupt and sold the dairy business to Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) in 2020. You can still find Dean's Country Fresh ice cream, but now Dean's is in little letters and country fresh is in big letters (aka the opposite of what it used to be).

Hudsonville has undergone several phases of expansion and has now brought their ice cream (not frozen dairy dessert) to the Northeast! They are responsible for the Little Debbie ice creams.

Tillamook: Now in the Northeast, they started in Oregon. It took awhile for their ice cream to grow on me but I am now a fan. They tend to be light on mix-ins but have several good flavors.
Owned by: Farmers (the people, not the insurance)
U.S. Sales: 2022 #7

Gifford's: Gifford's (of Maine) bought Gifford's (of Maryland) in 2010 to expand their distribution along the east coast. They make some fun quarts but only recently (2021) started expanding in to more New England stores.
Owned by: Gifford's

Pierres Ice Cream Company: Pierre's products are sold in 10 states. They used to produce Yovation and the excellent Hola Fruta. It's very possible you are eating Pierre's ice cream, but under a private label name.
Owned by: Ohio Processors (2022)

Perry's Ice Cream: Is out of upstate New York. They have been nice enough to send over samples several times, most people find their stuff at Wegman's. Their ice cream is a lot less dense than when I started the blog.
Owned by: Family Owned - 4 generations

Blue Bell Creameries: While Blue Bell creameries was the #4 brand in the country, though it's only available in 17 states. I don't happen to live in one of them, so we had CT from Nerd Lunch try them for us every now and then.
Owned by: Blue Bell Creameries
U.S. Sales: 2019 #3, 2022 #3

Mayfield Creamery: Expanded its Southern US reach by four more states in 2017. They also went back to their full name of "Mayfield Creamery" and not just Mayfield.
Owned by: Dean Foods >> DFA (2020)

Budget / Entry level brands ($)

Stone Ridge Creamery: Owned by the conglomerate that runs a bunch of grocery stores. They tend to be light on the mix-ins, but overall it's quite good considering the price point. (Stone Ridge is made at the same facilities as Kemps, but Kemps is not SR). Whatever store chain supervalu owns near you, that is where you will Stone Ridge products.
Owned by: Supervalu

Hood: Among it's collection of dairy products, Hood makes entry level ice cream...which is good if you're in college and can't afford anything better. They have operations throughout the country, own several other brands, and have over 2 billion in sales annually. I didnt cover them much at first, but their New England Creamery line up has some fun stuff.
Owned by: HP Hood LLC

Target: Throwing Target here because their stuff tends to pack a good amount of flavor at a discount price though the branding seems to roll over every few years..

Flavor King: Found this at a Price Rite -- do not eat this stuff.

"Healthy" Brands:

Skinny Cow
reduced to a few products
Owned by: Froneri (announced Dec 2019)

Weight Watchers
reduced to a few bars
Made by Wells' Dairy Inc. since 2004

Halo Top - young California company making all natural, high protein, low sugar, low fat ice cream with the help of erythritol. I never eat it.
Owned by: Wells' Enterprises (now Ferrero) since Sept 2019
U.S. Sales: 2019 #8, 2022 #10

Arctic Zero - lactose free, often low/no fat, and low glycemic thanks to monk fruit extract >> moved to a non-dairy lineup.

Enlightened - started as bars but has moved in to pints and other products. low sugar because of erythritol. Still kickin!

Yasso - started off with frozen greek yogurt bars, usually fat free and high in fiber, and have expanded their lineup since then.

Local Brands:

Brighams: It's only served in New England. They were sold to Hood in the summer of 2008 and the plan then was to keep the status quo. They used to make good ice cream, but quality has fallen and they rarely pop out something new and catchy.
Owned by: HP Hood LLC

Batch Ice Cream: Boston Area ice cream started in 2009, sold to new owners in 2018 who hope to expand to nationwide distribution.

Non-Dairy Only Brands: all the rage starting in 2020

Tofutti is made from Soy (Tofu)

So Delicious has coconut milk, cashew milk, almond milk and soy milk products

FoMu and NadaMoo! are both coconut milk based.

Cado is avocado based frozen dessert.

Snow Monkey is banana based

There are now several oat based lines as well

Other Brands & Retired Brands:

Walmart also has their own brands of ice cream but we don't try it often

Starbucks ice cream was a limited selection, often coffee based (produced by Unilever).

Walgreens made their own ice cream, making both standard and premium ice creams.

There is Green's and Hagan in the Pennsylvania area, but they are run by Kemps, which is run by HP Hood LLC.

There is Carolina based Mooresville ice cream which put out pints of Front Porch ice cream.

Magnum makes ice cream bars but was in the U.S. "tub" game from 2018 to 2023. They are owned by Unilever.

Mars is responsible for any Mars or Dove ice cream (Dove pints are rare nowadays)

Milk Bar - Started as a bakery in 2008. Ice cream was in stores 2021 to 2023.

Rice Dream & Almond Dream - out of the frozen game

Cool haus: originally known for their ice cream sandwiches, they got out of the pint game

Gelato Fiasco: Out of Maine, top notch stuff, no longer on shelves

Steve's Ice Cream: Bought by Dean Foods in June 2017, might be gone

Three Twins Ice Cream: Organic ice cream out of California, closed up in early 2020.

Vice Cream: young company out of the Boston area, competing with B&J and H-D. They have gone silent in 2019 but are supposedly coming back.... (2022: probably not happening)
Owned by: Vice Cream

Yuengling's returned in 2014 after a 29 year hiatus but have been offline for a few years. They spun off in 2019 (announced 2019). You can read the latest 2021 announcement here. In 2022, they bought Revolution Desserts which owns or licenses Gelato Fiasco, Sweet Scoops, Art Cream and Soco Creamery. In Late 2023, it seems like they will be divesting their ice cream assets.

Healthy Choice - ice cream is gone ---  Owned by: ConAgra (but made by Edy's)

hmmm, did I forget anyone? other places might carry "store" brands, but deep down these are probably rebadged ice creams. As time goes, I will place them where I can. Feel free to leave a comment.

US Sales Note: I am excluding private label ice creams when showing the sales rankings.


  1. What about Schwan's ice cream? They are national and super delicious!

  2. No Schwan's around here in central mass ...actually I've never seen a Schwan's in my life, but that doesn't mean they don't repackage their products for some place local to me. I will look into it.

  3. I live outside Worcester and Schwans stops at my house twice a week...where are you in Central Mass that you can't get Schwans? Maybe if you check out your web site, you can request a driver stop by. There's no charge.

  4. Will you consider Purely Decadent brand made with coconut milk, which is available at Whole Foods or local natural food stores?

  5. I try to be open to everything. I have seen it before, and I almost picked up a container one day. How much does it taste like coconut? My only fear is dumping 6-7 bucks on a container and then not liking it, so I try to wait for the rogue sale now and then.

    I should start another section called specialty or probably non-dairy companies.

  6. You should hunt down some Tillamook Ice Cream. Pretty popular out here on the west coast. GREAT ICE CREAM!!

  7. since you like B&J's any comments on Peach Cobbler? As a kid, we were treated once a month at a local place called "Shaw's" on the SF peninsula, and they made a fresh peach in the summers. It was great. This B&J flavor matches in flavor and quality. Finally something just as good, as the good ole days! Were the '50's that long a go!

  8. I have a feeling you don't think gelato is real ice cream, but what about Ciao Bella? Their flavors are clean and wonderful - their Espresso is one of the best coffee flavors I've ever had, and other flavors are very good. I'm in NYC - don't know if they're available where you are...Their sorbettos are also wonderful and fresh tasting.

  9. Addendum to previous about Ciao Bella - if you like coconut, their coconut sorbetto is superb.

  10. I second the Tillamook recommendation. That stuff is awesome!

  11. Tillamook is great, as is Farr's. They are western brands that dominate Utah Grocery shelves.

  12. Schwan's Ice Cream is actually owned by the Breyer's Ice Cream company.

  13. Have you tried any of Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream's offerings? Can be found at Whole Foods. Higher end, but one of the best I've ever had. Have only tried the goat cheese w/ red cherries, but really pleased.

  14. Nick has tried two of their flavors so far (I don't have any in my area, but I am hard pressed to pay $10 a pint anyway)

  15. I tried a brand called Dairy Rich, from Ultra Foods, a grocery chain in the Midwest. I thought their praline ice cream was very good, considering it was so cheap. Very rich, no funky artificial flavors that I could detect, didn't seem to have a lot of overrun...surprisingly dense. Worth checking out!

  16. You have to try Publix ice cream. Some people are unaware that even though it is a store brand they make it themselves at their own plant in Lakeland. Not only do they make traditional flavors; but they also make a variety of seasonal flavors that are just as yummy.

  17. @Jennifer: would love to get Publix on the blog but they aren't in the Northeast.

  18. Magnum ice cream bars use a top notch high quality chocolate, very decadent. The brand name changes from country to country, in Greece they are Algida,but as you mentioned, they are owned by Unilever.

  19. Stewarts Ice Creams, sold exclusively in at the 330 Stewarts Shops (convenience/dairy stores) from Dutchess to Saratoga County in NY & parts of Vermont remind me of Breyers and Sealest 'back in the day'. They're very dense, high quality (they own there own dairy & ice cream plant)and sell 20+ flavors (incl both Philly AND French Vanilla) incl unique cult favorites (Mint Marcy, Death by Chocolate)all if real 64 oz containers for $3.50-4.50 with 3 flavors on sale every week.

  20. Victor, I have covered my favorite Stewart's flavor (Crumbs Along the Mohawk) here. I've been meaning to review more flavors though!

  21. I saw a review for Hershey Ice Cream on your blog, and I would love to see your ranking for them. I, too, am always trying different brands, and I put them in the top tier with BJ and HD, especially their premium gold products.

  22. David, the premium gold stuff is exclusive to like hand dipped places, right? I'd rank the stuff I've had with other premium brands like turkey hill, blue bunny and perry's. They just don't break super premium territory with the ones that are available in grocery/convenience stores. I'd imagine the premium gold line is on a different level though.

  23. What about Graeter's? They specialize in the french pot method and make some amazing ice creams. My personal favorite is Toffee Chocolate Chip but the Cookie Dough is great, too.

  24. oh, we definitely cover graeters!

    I need to update this page, havent worked on it in ages

  25. Yes review more Stewart's. Peanut Butter Pandemonium is the best!

  26. Trader Joe's vanilla is very good albeit very high in sat fat. Turkey Hill All Natural Salted Caramel is awfully good for the price, especially when it's on sale, but it is overly sweet. Just about anything Talenti is great (and great at inducing a heart attack), but also overly sweet. It's hard to find great ice cream that isn't so sweet ... adult ice cream I call it. Also interesting flavors like green tea or ginger tend to be hard to find. Whole Foods carries a lot but it tends to be overly expensive I think. Maybe I should make my own ...

  27. Tillamook and umpqua are absent. Without them, ranking is useless over the mid west

  28. I've heard of Tillamook but have no reasonable access to them. That said, i don't think the exclusion of Umpqua makes this list "useless". I -think- I've heard of them, but they have but 3,500 fans on facebook (compared to Tillamook's half a million).

  29. Jeni's Splendid Ic e Cream is based in Columbus, Ohio... not New York.

  30. Looks like Tillamook has made it to the northeast? I found some at Stop & Shop (on sale this week, no less). Mudslide is a personal favorite so I was happy (and surprised) to see it.

  31. Ha, yes, we were just discussing this on another post

  32. For a regional ice cream - Penn State Creamery! The ice cream is delicious, but hard to find. For those interested, the university runs a short course on ice cream making.

  33. Thanks for the host of reviews, but... "No Spumoni?" Maybe I just missed them.

    Here we have the Brothers brand, which brings back childhood memories of other brands I had been missing for a long time.

    Thanks (and hope you get the chance to try some Spumoni!)

  34. Use the search on the menu bar

    and then you can find our lone spumoni review:

  35. Have you tried Chocolate Shoppe ice cream out of Madison, Wisconsin? Excellent!

  36. It's not listed, but yes we have!

  37. Oh yum--Chocolate Shoppe ice cream from Madison WI is used by all the high end ice cream shops here in the Twin Cities (Mpls.-St. Paul). Awesomely creamy & great flavors--especially Zanzibar and Coconut Almond Bliss (together!!!) Must go to Selma's in Afton this weekend for a fix.

  38. I didn't see anything from you on Hudsonville's Extra Indulgent line Dubba. Just grabbed my first pint from Walmart (Cookie Overload), and I am very impressed.

  39. I don't know if it will hit my area, but if it does, I'll be sure to check it out (in the last few weeks, Hudsonville is now at my local Walmart too, they are popping up everywhere!)


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