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Few things are as quintessentially summertime as the tinkle of ice cream trucks echoing through neighborhoods and lines at ice cream stands snaking around the block. But you can recreate that summer feeling year-round by stocking your freezer with cartons of store-bought ice cream.
Whether you’d rather buy half-gallons of your favorite spoonable flavor or handheld treats like ice cream bars or sandwiches, some grocery stores stand out for their selection of private label desserts. You’ll find national brands like Ben & Jerry’s, Häagen-Dazs and Tillamook in most of these, but private label ice creams rival these national players with a growing selection of premium offerings.
You don’t have to sacrifice flavor if you want to save a few bucks by shopping store-brand. Check out these grocery chains for great ice cream at bargain prices.
Trader Joe’s stocks almost exclusively private label and ice cream is no exception. In fact, the vast selection includes everything from bulk buys to novelty treats in individual packs. Expect flavors ranging from the classic French vanilla and mint chip to offbeat delights like cookie butter and ube. The Hold the Cone! Another popular choice among customers are mini ice cream cones.
Regular customers swear by HEB, and if you’re from the state of Texas, you probably agree. Based mostly in the Lone Star State, the regional grocery chain is known for many fan-favorite private label items, including their ice cream. The Creamy Creations line includes classic flavors like vanilla and chocolate, as well as unique varieties like Peach Cobbler, and that’s one of the reasons fans will tell you HEB does it better than other grocery stores.
A giant grocery chain like Kroger doesn’t seem like the place to go for high-quality private label products that can rival smaller, family-run supermarkets. But if you’re browsing the frozen section, keep an eye out for Kroger’s Private Selection of ice cream. Shoppers can find decadent flavors like Amaretto Cherry Liqueur, Sea Salt Caramel Truffle, and Southern Butter Pecan. Kroger regulars are fans of Private Selection and even claim that it outperforms all other grocery store ice cream brands. “Kroger’s Private Selection Cookies & Cream is hands down the best ice cream cookie and cream I’ve ever eaten,” said one Reddit user.
There are all kinds of ice cream treats you can get at Costco for a great bargain price. But one of the most popular is Kirkland’s own Super Premium Vanilla Ice Cream, which is consistently voted one of the company’s absolute best products. In fact, fans will go into a frenzy when the frozen treat goes on sale.
If you want to make sure you’re buying ice cream made with the best ingredients, head to Whole Foods. The nationwide grocery chain aims to sell products made without artificial flavors or unnecessary ingredients, including those sold under its own brand 365. Whole Foods’ frozen food department is full of good finds, including store-brand desserts like ice cream cartons and organic treats like fudge bars and ice cream sandwiches.
It might be tempting to choose your favorite national brands when shopping at Target, but the big store actually has good private label products too. The Favorite Day ice cream range includes classic flavors such as Chocolate, French Vanilla and Cookie Dough. Target also sells low-calorie options, including Chocolate Peanut Butter, Mocha Cold Brew Coffee, and Mint Cookies ‘n Cream.
One Redditor highlighted Target’s low-calorie ice cream as a great alternative to premium brands at a lower price: “The low-calorie ice cream is comparable to Halo Top in terms of calories and tastes much better.” Super good for anyone who wants to lose weight and still has a craving have sweets.”
If you are looking for delicious, cheap ice cream, then Aldi is the place for you. The discount supermarket chain is full of own-brand products that stretch to the freezer section. Look to the chain’s Sundae Shoppe brand for ice cream shopping, as well as Earth Grown for its dairy-free selection. Redditors pointed out that Aldi’s Sundae Shop super premium ice cream line was exceptional, and one added, “The super premium vanilla line is so good.” It’s pretty much all I buy anymore. Much better than the others.”
Stew Leonard’s is a small grocery chain with fewer than ten locations in Connecticut, New York and New Jersey. However, don’t let the small size fool you. Stew Leonard’s prides itself on quality food, many of which are freshly prepared on site daily. Its own-brand ice cream is made from fresh dairy, a practice Stew Leonard’s has embraced since opening as a small dairy shop in 1969. Expect to find everything from hand-wrapped boxes of vanilla and chocolate ice cream to handmade Stew’s Ice Cream Sandwiches.
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