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October 13, 2011

I am disappointed with Aglamesis Brothers.

My wife and I are both vegetarians and have eaten ice cream in their Oakley store on several occasions. We recently purchased and brought home a couple of pints of ice cream. It wasn’t until we were half-way through those pints that we noticed the ingredients listed on the side of the container. We were properly horrified to see “Calf Gelatin” listed as an ingredient in their ice cream! We are very conscious of what we eat, we read food labels carefully, we ask a lot of questions when we dine out, and we have never thought to ask if their ice cream (or any other for that matter) was vegetarian or not.

calf gelatin in Aglamesis ice cream

I am disappointed because neither their website nor their store provides any nutrition information about their products whatsoever. Consumers cannot make an informed decision about what they are eating. Graeter’s proudly lists their ingredients on their website, as does Jeni’s. I feel that it is irresponsible and somewhat suspicious of a food product company to withhold this information from the public.

I am disappointed because Aglamesis Brothers could easily change this one ingredient, but chooses not to. There are many inexpensive, vegetarian alternatives to calf gelatin as a food-grade stabilizing agent: Agar-agar, arrowroot, guar gum, tapioca starch, and carrageenan are some of the industry’s standards.

I am disappointed that they choose to cater only to the meat-eating population, needlessly alienating a minor but ever-growing segment of our community. According to a 2009 survey by The Vegetarian Resource Group, about 3% of the US population is vegetarian. This may seem like a small number, but there are approximately 2,130,151 people living in the Cincinnati metropolitan area, and that small 3% equates to around 63,904 local vegetarians!

I acknowledge that their company has been in operation since 1908 and has built a strong and lasting reputation in the greater Cincinnati area. I also understand the importance of consistent, “time-tested recipes”. But minor changes are sometimes necessary to gain the public’s trust and respect. McDonald’s failed to clearly communicate to consumers that they cooked their French fries in beef tallow until 1990. They’ve since switched to vegetable oil, issued an apology, and paid around $10 million to vegetarian and religious groups. I am disappointed that Aglamesis Brothers does not recognize that sometimes change is necessary and can even be good for business.

Since they provide no ingredients or nutrition information on their website and post none of this information in their stores, I will do my best to communicate to all 63,904 vegetarians in the greater Cincinnati area that their ice cream is not vegetarian and encourage them to spend their money elsewhere.

By the way, if all 63,904 of us were to buy just one pint of their ice cream a month, they would see an increase in sales of over $3.8 million per year.

Now who’s disappointed?

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Susan Schanen permalink
    April 15, 2012 9:28 pm

    I totally get your disappointment…The thing is, is that perhaps we have to look twice at eating/drinking dairy at all as vegetarians… The plight of milk cows is pretty tuff …probably time for us all to make friends with the alternatives…the raw food chef Matt Kenney has some very smoothe and yummy ice creamy things in “everyday raw desserts”. My husband and I are trying also to make the most ethical and healthy food choices we can…as a chef, I agree with you that ice cream can be made without gelatin; but maybe we can do better by the cows and ourselves….”forks over knives” was an interesting documentary.

    • April 16, 2012 8:14 am

      Hi Susan!
      Since writing this post my wife and I have gone vegan! No dairy products at all, and we both feel great! Check out my new blog here:
      Forks Over Knives was very influential in our decision!


  2. Irish permalink
    March 12, 2014 12:50 am

    Milk and Cream are not vegetarian. And you admit you eat them. They are alleged to contain pus, manure, antibiotics and growth hormones. So, do not try to come off as pristine organic types and appalled by calf gelatine. You assume it is acquired by ill fated means rather than the humane hoof maintenance trimmings can produce, which are often administered by dairy farmers who lovingly care for their herd.
    If you want to talk about mass produced junk called ice cream, there is a place called “Graeter’s”. Its the stuff Cincinnatians choose to export.

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