Why loot matters more than labels

There’s been much hoo-ha this week over a study from consumer group Which? that revealed a number of brands of vanilla ice cream contain neither vanilla nor cream.

According to Which? only 12 of the 24 ice cream products it examined contained all three key ingredients – vanilla, fresh milk or cream – and they tended to be premium brands.

As the cost of vanilla has soared, many manufacturers have, understandably, turned to alternative ingredients. But what’s wrong with that? Such products don’t contravene strict labelling laws, and offer consumers a choice.

In fact, what I find most remarkable about this co-called story is that Which? found 24 different brands of vanilla ice cream to examine in the first place. That’s an astonishing selection.

‘For those looking for a more authentic ice cream… our advice is to check the ingredients list and look for natural vanilla, dairy cream and fresh milk,’ says Which?

Sound advice, I guess, but for many shoppers the price tag is far more important than the ingredients list. We all know that you get what you pay for, and ice cream is no exception. Whichever way you look at it, desserts are a luxury – and for cash-strapped families premium products are rarely an option.

All we need know is that our food is safe to eat. Beyond that, it’s our wallets – not tastebuds or ingredient lists – that will determine what has us licking our lips.

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