It’s important to note that people who come to Häagen-Dazs’ brand site to comment on the flavors really love their ice cream—and are not afraid to share their feelings. They’d like to see smaller ribbons of peanut butter in the chocolate peanut butter for ease of scooping; they’re that kind of dedicated super fans. This is an ice cream reality in which even rum raisin gets four stars.

On the vanilla page though, after a few glowing reviews, the love stops and the questions begin. ”You had the BEST ice cream ever, but since you changed the formula it is horrible. At the very least, offer both formulas and keep your old customers,” writes one former fan. “Why did you change your ice cream?,” starts a plaintive comment. “We are celebrating New Year’s, discussing Häagen-Dazs ice cream and are very disappointed with the change of formula. Please go back to your original ice cream!”

I reached out to Häagen-Dazs and after a little back and forth it turns out their fans were right: Häagen-Dazs did change their vanilla flavor. And while they wouldn’t divulge the exact recipe, they did send me this statement about the ice cream.

We continuously work to improve our products based on evolving consumer tastes and preferences. We’re proud to have the #1 vanilla ice cream in our category, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t room to make things better.  We listened to what our Häagen-Dazs ice cream fans wanted, and looked at the recipe last year to further enhance the experience.  Delighting consumers is at our core, so we don’t make adjustments lightly. We rely on consumer insights when we make changes, and we were pleased that a small change to our vanilla recipe had the approval of our biggest fans – we wouldn’t have it any other way.

We believe in using quality, simple ingredients in our vanilla ice cream, which continues to feature the same five ingredients (cream, skim milk, cane sugar, egg yolks and vanilla extract) we’ve used for years.

Citing trade secrets, Häagen-Dazs declined to provide any more specifics on the change. But even though its formula is simple, small tweaks—like altering the cream-to-milk ratio, or the amount of sugar—can make for textural and flavor changes, especially if you’re a devoted aficionado. So to all those vanilla superfans out there, I don’t understand you, but I do applaud your tastebuds.

You were right, the formula is a little different.

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