Claim:   Great Value brand ice cream sandwiches sold by WalMart don’t melt.


PARTLY TRUE


Example:   [Collected via e-mail, January 2015]


I read a story about Wal-Mart’s ice cream sandwiches not melting in 80 degree heat. Is this true? Seems hard to believe.

 

Origins: On 15 July 2014, the Cincinnati television station WCPO’s news department conducted a melting test on several brands of ice cream (a cup of Haagen Dazs, a Klondike Bar ice cream sandwich, and a WalMart Great Value ice cream sandwich) after receiving a tip that ice cream treats sold by Walmart did not melt when left in the sun on a hot summer day:


Christie Watson’s kids love eating ice cream. But one recent morning, she saw an uneaten ice cream sandwich sitting on her patio table. When she looked closer, she couldn’t believe what she was seeing.

“I noticed that my son had left his ice cream sandwich outside,” she said, “and I was wondering ‘why is there still ice cream in there’?”

The WalMart Great Value sandwich had barely melted 12 hours later … even though it was an 80 degree morning.

“I thought that’s quite weird,” she said. “So I looked at the box, and it doesn’t say artificial ice cream. It says ice cream.”


 

WCPO’s experiment, which has been reconstructed in countless YouTube videos, found that Walmart’s Great Value brand ice cream sandwich really did melt much much slower than its competitors’ offerings:

When asked for comment about the seemingly never-melting ice cream sandwich, a WalMart representative responded by noting that the melting rate of Great Value ice cream sandwiches is affected by the amount of cream they contain:


Ice cream melts based on the ingredients including cream. Ice cream with more cream will generally melt at a slower rate, which is the case with our Great Value ice cream sandwiches.

 

(Think of it this way: you can leave butter out for many days at room temperature, but it won’t melt into a puddle of liquid because it’s a dairy product containing a good deal of cream.)

Virginia Tech food chemist Sean O’Keefe confirmed
that fat can affect the rate at which an ice cream product will melt: The less fat (and the more water) in ice cream, the slower it melts. However, Consumer Reports found another reason to explain why WalMart brand Great Value ice cream doesn’t melt so quickly as some others — stabilizers such as calcium sulfate and guar gum:


Manufacturers add gums and other ingredients like calcium sulfate and mono diglycerides to help control the melting rate of ice cream. They are also added to stop large crystal formations from forming when the products are taken in and out of the freezer.




 

The fact that Walmart Great Value brand ice cream seemingly doesn’t melt may unnerve some people, but all of the product’s ingredients have been deemed safe for consumption by the FDA. And Great Value is not the only brand of ice cream product that contains such stabilizers.

Last updated:   21 June 2015