Sunday, October 2, 2016

Belmont Make Fudge Not War Super Premium Ice Cream Pint (Aldi)

Very expensive in price, very average in flavor.
UPDATE (June, 2019): Due to a slight change of heart and a possible change of opinion, this item will be re-reviewed in the coming weeks. 

Aldi seems to be trying to go slightly upscale in a lot of areas, balancing their “premium” offerings with the inexpensive “discounted” products that made them famous in the first place. For example, their cheese selection has been greatly expanded, and it's not uncommon to find aged cheddars, brie's, goat cheese, and other offerings as Special Buys throughout the year. It's all a part of their plan to cater to everyone's tastes (or, perhaps more importantly, their income levels).

But the area that I've noticed the most change is in their ice cream section. They've always had half-gallons of basic flavors, and party-sized tubs of vanilla for parties, but within the last few months have added premium chocolate ice cream (which was $3.99 per half-gallon, but has dropped to $3.79); some pints from their Specially Selected label, which is their more “gourmet” offerings; and on the last trip, some additional pints with “clever”, playful names and cartoon sheep saying things like “Sheep happens!” on the front, a baffling occurrence considering sheep have nothing to do with ice cream, fudge, or war.

The packaging is light and kind of “fun”, which is what initially caught my eye; the fact the packaging is strongly reminiscent of a popular national brand of ice cream is what won me over. I thought the price was a little excessive for what it was, but if it tasted as spectacular as I was hoping, it would be worth every penny. And my wife was also encouraging me to get it, because she really wanted to try it. So into the cart it went, and it didn't make it through that first day without getting opened.

It tastes like chocolate ice cream with brownies inside, which I guess is a good thing considering that's what it is. But it's not entirely a good thing, because it tastes like every other chocolate ice cream with brownie pieces—the chocolate ice cream is slightly bitter, while the chunks of brownie are chewy, soft, and sweet. It's good, but it's nothing spectacular, yet these are being sold for a price that would insinuate this stuff is out-of-this-world: $1.99. For one PINT. That's right, for roughly the same price as a half-gallon of their basic flavors, Aldi is offering just one single pint of uninspiring ice cream. Ice cream that I could get across the street at a supermarket chain for just a dollar or so more for a half-gallon of their store brand. Even my wife was unimpressed, and she's usually very easily impressed when it comes to ice creams.

Overall: 5/10. I appreciate that Aldi is trying to cater to more upscale crowds, but no matter how I look at it, I can't wrap my head around the “why?” of this particular product. It's nothing out of the ordinary, yet it's being sold for a rather astronomical price: $1.99 for a single pint. This literally tastes like any number of similar ice creams I've tried, with the chocolate starting off sweet and finishing slightly bitter, and the doughy balls of brownie serving up some soft texture and added sweetness. For just a bit more, I could get the store brand half-gallon of a very similar product, which means there's not much in the way of value. It's not that it tastes bad, it's just that it tastes average, and is way too expensive to merely be average.

20 comments:

  1. Yeah, the $2/pint price tag turned me off from trying these products as well. Well that and I have zero interest in brownie/cookie dough pieces mixed into my ice cream. However my daughter's a bit of a chocoholic so I'm sure if she saw the "Make Fudge Not War" flavor she'd toss it into the cart. For what it's worth I try to do my shopping while she's in school for that exact reason, hahaha.

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    1. Smart move. We have a little one on the way very shortly (boy, due Nov. 1st) so I may need to contact you for more tips like this down the road, lol.

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    2. aaron, I think you should look again at what jimjims and Unknown are trying to tell you. This is NOT about taste or any other subjective measures and everyone reading this needs to stop thinking about the size of the container you're getting. Size (volume) does not correlate with getting a good deal or not because the largest ice cream containers often half filled with air!

      If you look at the nutrition facts, it will tell you the recommended serving size in imperial, volumetric units. Right next to that, it will also give you metric units, which are mass units instead of volume. On your cheap, grocery store ice creams, you'll find that there are around 60-65g per 1/2 cup, while the "expensive" stuff will have 100-110g per 1/2 cup. For example, Make Fudge Not War has 107g while Great Value Vanilla Bean (Walmart store brand) has 66g. MFNW is 62% more dense than Walmart brand, which means for each pint of MFNW, you're getting 62% more product than a pint of Walmart brand.

      In regards to the use of the term "super premium," it is actually a dairy industry standard labeling term, which actually tells you something about the density of the ice cream. There's another industry term called overrun, which is the additional amount of volume in ice cream due to mixing in air. Super premium ice creams have around 20% overrun, premium ice cream around 50%, and budget (usually not labeled) ice creams can get as high as 100%. Super premium and premium ice creams are also supposed to use better quality ingredients than non-labeled ice cream, but taste is subjective so let's not argue over that. For what it's worth, manufacturers do actually use higher quality ingredients, which does factor into the cost some (real vanilla bean is quite expensive, and the price can fluctuate wildly due to weather, natural disasters, etc).

      Factoring in density, and pricing ice cream on a mass basis rather than a volume basis, Make Fudge Not War actually costs $0.46/100g and Great Value Vanilla Bean $0.28/100g. You can do this calculation yourself by dividing the total volume (oz) of an ice cream container by 4, then multiplying that by the grams per 1/2 cup on the nutrition label to get the total mass of ice cream that you're buying. You should be doing this to every ice cream you buy, because you'll very quickly find that a lot of name brand ice creams like Breyer's, Dreyer's, Blue Bunny, etc are more expensive than Make Fudge Not War for the same amount by mass.

      If you're comparing super premium ice creams to super premium ice creams, you'll also find that Aldi's Ben & Jerry's knockoffs are an absolute steal. Haagen-Dazs and Ben & Jerry's (both super premium) are around $1.00/100g on sale and Aldi is half that. Halo Top is a recently popular "high end" brand that uses organic and "healthy" ingredients, but the only reason why it achieves such a low calorie count is because it's 100% overrun (50% air). It's by far the biggest ripoff I've ever seen at $1.50/100g and it's not even a super premium ice cream.

      I think Make Fudge Not War tastes great for what it is, and I'd buy it any day at $1.99 a pint even if I could get a half gallon of 100% overrun budget ice cream at the same price. I can't stand the airiness of budget ice cream (<75g per half cup) that comes in large tubs, except for a few like HEB Creamy Creations (which is a premium ice cream comparable to Blue Bell, 87g/half cup) and Kirkland Signature vanilla (which is super premium 108g/half cup, high quality, and only $0.29/100g but it isn't being sold anymore).

      If you enjoy super airy ice cream, more power to you, but at least double check to make sure that you're actually getting a good deal by computing the price by mass instead of looking at the size of the container.

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    3. I appreciate this long-winded post informing me of how I should form my own opinions. I'll admit I stopped reading shortly after beginning because it looked like a whole lot of words. Should I change the way I form and hold opinions in the future-- from basing something off of my own personal experiences to accumulating them based on the comments and explanations of someone I know nothing about--I will go back and read the rest at that time.

      Thanks for the comment!

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  2. When doing a review, you need to learn about what said products are knocking off first and why it's priced and what it is instead of downgrading the product because it's not priced the same as the gallon tubs of shoddy pre-freezer burned gritty ice cream.

    These are Ben & Jerrys knockoffs (the sheep is the Ben and Jerrys cow knockoff), so it's specially mixed premium ice cream, hence the $1.99 pint price.

    You do know that pints of Ben & Jerrys are $4.99 at Walmart and other stores, right? Some stores in more remote regions even have them at $6!

    Also I cringed at you overanalysing the names of the ice cream, further showing how clueless you are, because the names are also playing off of Ben and Jerry ice cream names.

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    1. Well thanks for overanalyzing my overanalyzation. It proves that you're soooooo much smarter.

      And for the record, I'm aware of Ben & Jerry's prices, and their dumb names. Doesn't mean I have to think they're clever or funny (although I do like Cherry Garcia), or that I have to find $2 for a pint of ice cream that tastes no better than most store brands of similar ice cream to be an outstanding deal, just because the item it's knocking off costs more.

      Glad I could make you cringe, though!

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    2. Jimjims - you're quite right (though it woulda been nice to see someone make those points without being quite as dickish about it). Definitely amazed to find someone thinks getting $4.50-$5 ice cream for $1.99 is outrageously high. I consider it quite the steal.

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    3. Maybe my palate just isn't as advanced as some, but I honestly don't taste much of a difference between this, and Kroger's premium Private Selection ice cream line, which you can get a full carton of (as opposed to a teeny pint) for $3 (or less) when on sale.

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  3. Take a look at the nutrition facts on the pint and compare it to the generic store brand from somewhere else. There are probably twice as many calories in a 1/2 cup serving of the pint than a 1/2 cup serving of the cheap stuff. Ice cream makers that sell in larger quantities like 1.5 quarts churn a lot of air into their ice cream to create artificial volume. This means the ice cream is light and airy instead of rich, dense, and decadent. The Aldi pint, like the Ben and Jerry's and Haagen Dazs it imitates, is a super premium ice cream, a much higher quality product than the other stuff. If you compared it on a calories/dollar basis, it would fare very well. Your taste buds should be able to figure out by themselves where the price comes from, but I guess you were already sold on the idea that it's overpriced and allowed that to form your opinion instead.

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    1. I'm sure a factory-made pint is soooo "super premium". I'd save that designation for homemade stuff that doesn't have an allowable amount of rat feces and other FDA-accepted grotesqueries.

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    2. You haven't gotten the hang of this whole "review" thing have you? You might as well shut this site down.

      Your personal bias and whatever idiotic fake crap you read on Facebook (retardbook) has no relevance to the review of a product.

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    3. Haha, you're right. I still haven't figured out how to form a personal opinion and write about it.

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    4. Your "personal opinions" went out the window and everything you said lost all credibility when you accuse more expensive products of having rat shit in their product.

      You live in a fantasy where you think that everyone should cater to you and your skewed beliefs that every premium thing should cost the same as bottom of the barrel trash because you want it to.

      Maybe if you got a better job and made more money you could afford nice ice cream and not crap from the 99cent store.

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    5. You're arguing with someone online because they don't agree with your opinion of an ice cream product.

      But sure, let ME go back to MY fantasy world.

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  4. We were suuuuuper disappointed by these as well. Occasionally, Ben & Jerry's goes on sale for $3 at our supermarket so we splurge. Ben & Jerry's is creamy and loaded with pieces of whatever they add.

    The Aldi brand barely has any compared to Ben and Jerry's and lacks the premium quality despite being labeled as such.
    It would be a good value if it actually tasted like Ben and Jerry's, but it doesn't come close.

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    1. I was beginning to think this ice cream was specially formulated so that I was the only one in the entire world disappointed with it, so I'm glad this isn't the case!

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  5. Actually, I enjoy the Belmont product above Ben and Jerry's because it's not as sweet. I haven't seen B&J anywhere in my area (ever) for $3 but price is not the main consideration.

    To each his own.

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    1. To each his own indeed. It's all subjective.

      For us, price IS a big deal, so that's partially where I'm coming from. And for that price point I expect to be blown away. Didn't happen. Still, and for the record, I never said I hated these flavors, just that I was underwhelmed for the price.

      Either way, I'd get them again, because these are the only brownie-chunked ice cream flavors available at Aldi, and everyone needs a little brownie chunks in their ice cream from time-to-time.

      Also for the record, my wife loved them both.

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  6. I tried the brookie and the thank you cherry much. I thought they were excellent. I was horrified at how expensive other pints were in my area (off brands at other stores), and even plain regular ice cream is expensive. I decided to splurge on this ice cream because I wanted something special and I was not disappointed. I'm sorry that you did not enjoy the ice cream as much as I did.

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    1. Haha, that's okay. It's not your fault! I did see they had a peanut butter/chocolate one as a special buy that I really wanted to try, but it was sold out before I could even get my hands on one!

      I'll give them another shot, for sure.

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