Thursday, May 8, 2008


Here at On Second Scoop, I try to focus as much as possible on all the national brands that you might find in the freezer aisle. If you ask me, here is how I currently see the world of Ice Cream, at least from my perspective here in New England.

Craft / High end Brands ($$$$)

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

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

McConnell's, Salt & Straw, and Ample Hills if you don't mind shipping charges
  > McConnell's is now in stores (like Wegmans)
   > > Ample Hills hit the Northeast (Roche Bros) in 2021

Tea-rrific: Tea infused ice cream out of Connecticut

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

Cool haus: originally known for their ice cream sandwiches, they are now in the pint game

High Road: Out of Georgia (est 2010)
     as of 2018, they own Ciao Bella Gelato (est 1983)

Milk Bar - Started as a bakery in 2008. Ice cream hit grocery stores in 2021

Dolcezza Gelato - based in DC, 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)
2019 U.S. Sales: #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.
Licensed by Nestle in US & Canada until 2100 (WSJ explains here)
2019 U.S. Sales: #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)
2019 U.S. Sales: #6

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

Yuengling's returned in 2014 after a 29 year hiatus. They are out of Pennsylvania. 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.

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
2019 U.S. Sales: #4

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

Friendly's: Friendly's use to make some pretty great ice cream but has gotten worse like most mainstream companies. They are all over the east coast.
Owned by: bought by Dean Foods (5/9/16) >> sold to DFA in 2020

Blue Bunny: Around here, Blue Bunny is found at Walmart and a few other select locations, but I think things are different in other parts of the country. I've learned to enjoy their ice cream and I enjoy their ever rotating line of novelties.
Owned by: Ferrero acquired Wells' Enterprises in late 2022, founded in 1913
2019 U.S. Sales: #9

Kemps has very limited exposure in my part of New England. They were at Walmart but I only really see their froyo at Market Basket and Roche Bros now. According to them: "[Kemps is] the leading marketer of frozen desserts, milk and other dairy products in the Upper Midwest". I don't care for their tart frozen yogurts, but I've had some success with their sweet yogurts.
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. They've gotten fairly quiet in recent years as Nestle moves towards co-branded ice creams.
Owned by: Nestle
2019 U.S. Sales: #7

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 major expansion and has even made it to the Northeast! They are also responsible for the Little Debbie ice creams.

Tillamook: Now in the Northeast, Started in Oregon. Took awhile to grow on me but am now a fan. Favorite flavor is white chocolate raspberry.
Owned by: Farmers (the people, not the insurance)

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
Owned by: Nestle

Weight Watchers
Made by Wells' Dairy Inc. since 2004

Healthy Choice - defunct(?)
Owned by: ConAgra (but made by Edy's)

Halo Top - young California company making all natural, high protein, low sugar, low fat ice cream with the help of erythritol.
Owned by: Wells' Enterprises (now Ferrero) since Sept 2019
2019 U.S. Sales: #8

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. low sugar because of erythritol.

Yasso - frozen greek yogurt bars, usually fat free and high in fiber

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

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

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

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

Non-Local Mainstream Brands:

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 have CT from Nerd Lunch try them for us every now and then.
Owned by: Blue Bell Creameries
2019 U.S. Sales: #3

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

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

Rice Dream & Almond Dream - out of the frozen game

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:

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 and (now just a few) tubs and is owned by Unilever.

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

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.


Anonymous said...

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

Dubba Scoops said...

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.

Anonymous said...

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.

Anonymous said...

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

Dubba Scoops said...

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.

Anonymous said...

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

Anonymous said...

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!

Anonymous said...

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.

Anonymous said...

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

Meghan Finley said...

I second the Tillamook recommendation. That stuff is awesome!

Adam said...

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

Anonymous said...

Trader Joe's?

Anonymous said...

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

Anonymous said...

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.

Dubba Scoops said...

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)

Anonymous said...

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!

Unknown said...

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.

Dubba Scoops said...

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

elexia said...

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.

Victor said...

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.

Nick Rovo said...

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

David Patterson said...

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.

Nick Rovo said...

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.

LR said...

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.

Dubba Scoops said...

oh, we definitely cover graeters!

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

Anonymous said...

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

Jimbo said...

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 ...

Anonymous said...

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

Dubba Scoops said...

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).

Anonymous said...

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

Dubba Scoops said...

Sorry, no idea why I wrote that

Anonymous said...

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.

Dubba Scoops said...

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

Anonymous said...

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.

Antonino said...

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!)

Dubba Scoops said...

Use the search on the menu bar

and then you can find our lone spumoni review:

Anonymous said...

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

Dubba Scoops said...

It's not listed, but yes we have!

Linda Quammen said...

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.

JoeK said...

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.

Dubba Scoops said...

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!)