Ice cream is hot these days, probably hotter than it’s ever been. While old school super premium brands are flourishing and there seems to be more new scoop shops popping up every month than I ever thought imaginable, one of the hottest ice cream trends is infusing it with protein and dropping the sugar. After the slow rise and ultimate booming success of Halo Top, who as of July are the best selling grocery ice cream in America, everyone wants to jump on the bandwagon – even big time boys like Breyers. Their latest release, Breyers Delights, have low sugar, low fat, and 20 grams of protein per pint. They launched with four flavors and I chose to try the two identical flavors that were my favorite from the first Halo line in 2015 – Vanilla Bean and Mint Chip.
Opening up the Vanilla Bean it is immediately less visually appealing than all the other protein ice creams I’ve had. The top is icy and fully separated from the sides of the carton with an odd spiky texture.
After giving it a good amount of time to temper, even longer than your average Halo Top or Enlightened, it scoops decently with a smooth and creamy consistency. Unfortunately the flavor is about as appealing to my tastebuds as the initial top-popping to my eyes and I’m pretty disappointed. The ice cream finishes with a really harsh, almost medicinal quality that I initially thought was the result of way too much vanilla extract, but looking at the ingredients it’s pretty obvious it’s the sweetener they used – stevia. The stevia creates an astringent, off-putting finish that makes this without a doubt one of the worst vanilla ice creams – protein, light, or otherwise – I’ve ever had.
The base flavor is only mildly sweet, less sweet than Enlightened’s, and doesn’t have any of the great true vanilla bean flavor of Halo Top’s. Adding some strawberries and whipped cream to the equation helped alleviate a bit of the bad taste, but I don’t want to start my sundae with something I feel the urge to cover up. This is not good, and I don’t recommend it at all.
Opening up the mint carton is similarly un-cute but marginally better – with more notable smoothness and less weird spikes jumping out at me. I’ll give Breyers some credit for having much more significantly sized chocolate chips than their competitors, but that’s the end of the compliments for this flavor as well.
The peppermint extract is far too aggressive, and begins the bite on an already unpleasant note, which then unfortunately finishes with the same off-putting stevia flavor as the vanilla. It’s harsh, astringent, and just generally not good. The sizable chocolate chips can’t save this pint from being far from sweet enough to pass as a dessert replacement, and whereas Halo Top’s mint chip finishes with a sweet cooling and creamy mint flavor, this feels like I took a swig of cheap mouthwash.
Both of these flavors from Breyers are a big letdown, and I guess that’s right in line with the overall quality I’ve come to expect from Breyer’s products in general. What’s more perplexing about this whole situation, is that Halo Top is priced at $4.99 and each of these cost me $5.99. With more flavors, far better execution, and a cheaper price point, both Halo Top and Enlightened are a far superior choice if you’re looking for a macro-cheap ice cream fix.