How much Ice Cream?

I recently had a freezer failure and was quite surprised at how little of its 1 litre container was filled by a melted carton of expensive ice cream. My curiosity piqued, I weighed 3 different relatively expensive ice creams unopened from the shop:

1 litre Bulla Blue Ribbon Buttermilk weighed 810g
1 litre Sara Lee French Vanilla weighed 620g
1 litre Connoisseur Classic Vanilla weighed 900g

I was astonished! Nearly 50% more ice cream in a carton of Connoisseur compared to Sara Lee. All 3 cost about $10 for a litre carton when full price.

Has anyone else noticed this or similar discrepancies?



Welcome to the forum Graeme. Your is an interesting observation but your weights of ‘unopened’ containers may be accurate or misleading depending on the packaging each uses. While the ‘tubs’ seem similar if not identical they could have differing thickness or densities of materials in the same way the ice cream does.

Is anyone keen to weigh the unopened contents and then weigh the packaging when empty to get the net weight, or open the tub and empty the contents into a ‘zeroed scale’ dish for the comparisons?

Since they are all sold by volume rather than weight it is not so obvious what the differing weights would signify; sometimes an ingredient can be expensive and light weight, saffron (although not generally in ice cream) being the extreme example.


Hi @Graeme, thanks for your first contribution to the community as it is a really interesting one.

I suspect that the mass of icecream is less than its equivalent container filled water volume as the fluffing up of icecream possibly adds to the texture (feeling or sensation in the mouth when eating) and also the ‘scoopability’ of the icecream…the more fluffed or air it contains possibly the easier it is to scoop out.

Many years ago we accidentially left iicecream out too long after a shop and the icecream while still cold has melted. We refroze it but afterwards noticed that the amount of frozen icecream has reduced and that the refrozen icecream was hard to scoop and icy. It tends to lead to the above conclusions.

Icecream is also sold as a volume rather than a weight. Using volumes allows manufacturers to fluff up their icecreams to possibly meet their products characteristics and enhance their enjoyment. It does however allow them to over fluff to make more product from the same quantity of ingredients.


Air. You can make the texture less dense and fluffier by beating more air into the mix. This is easier to do with commercial machinery than at home. It may make the mouthfeel softer which some may find attractive and it makes it easier to dish out at the standard freezer temp of -18c. And it’s lower in calories!

Air is of course much cheaper than most other ingredients. However the differences seem rather large to me. I would expect expensive ice creams to be about to be around 750-900g per litre, the Sara Lee seems very light considering its fat and sugar content is similar to the Connoisseur. As far as I can see Bulla don’t make a blue ribbon buttermilk so I am not sure what that is. The packets say Connoisseur is ten servings of 92g each while the SL is ten serves of 73g each. I suspect the mice had been in the Sara Lee and said nothing.

Whether there is nearly 50% “more ice cream” in one compared to the other is debatable as air is a legitimate ingredient and you buy by volume. Some people might prefer it less dense and lower calorie.


I would expect them to be similar, since it is the weights of fat and sugar per weight of ice cream that is listed on the nutrition panel, rather than per volume - the air doesn’t count, other than in profit margins.


Good point I wasn’t clear about that.


I was not clear in my intention. I intended to ask ‘what would the differing weights signify in enjoyment or nutrition or anything subject to adjudication or assessment, excepting the air’. The lone quality seems to be the sensory aspect, and maybe P/L/Dividends.

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Welcome to the Forum Graeme. A chilling observation!

I don’t know how you like your icecream etc, but I let mine thaw a bit before tucking in. What starts out as a heaped mound seems to reduce to ½ the volume. I would get twice as much next time to make up for the shrinkage, but the wife woman is strict on portion control :slight_smile:

You raise an interesting question on “value for money” as several posters have alluded. When buying ice creams, and realizing there is a lot of air included, how do you work out which is the best value for money when they don’t give weight to compare by?


For foods (and some other things) doesn’t it come down to personal preferences, taste, texture, and other non-quantifiable things, save for the experts definition of a perfect product that one may or may not agree with for their own consumption?

That $5 per kg coffee bean is certainly better value for money than the $40 per kg, but which would one buy if they were into coffee and had the dollars?

Weight is interesting, but to me not more. I would never use it to chose an ice cream above flavour, texture, and nutritional issues when they mattered.


Please let me wander from the topic for a moment to answer you Phil @PhilT … When living on a pension, value for money is very important. I know that with almost everything, there are better products out there than we can afford, but we can’t consider them due to our need to budget and the item’s cost.

Thanks to this and previous LNP Governments’ continued belief that everyone who is not rich deserves no help or benefits, people on the pension we can’t just buy what we want, because we can’t afford to. It’s even worse for people on benefits.

Consequently, we don’t often splurge on ice cream, but when we do, we only look in the price range we can afford, and then pick the best value for money in the price range.

May be one day we will be able to buy whatever we prefer rather than what we can afford, but I’m not holding my breath. :slight_smile:


Not to be argumentative, and your point is well taken, but since it is volumetric I don’t understand how weight enters the equation. We buy Sara Lee and Connesieur both when on sale, and we consider them equal, whichever is on sale wins that week. Why one might choose the product that is weightier per dollar? I don’t get it. A scoop is a scoop is it not? A litre yields the same scoops if done with precision. Sale prices seem more salient than weight if I might be so bold…


A person might only need 1 scoop of a ‘weightier’ product to feel satisfied when 2 scoops might be needed with an ‘airier’ product, that might be the crunch ummmm slurp :slightly_smiling_face: when it comes to weight for dollar value?


We too buy what’s on sale.

But as @grahroll so eloquently stated, the less you have to scoop out due to density to get the same weight of ice cream, the more bang for your buck.

Parting thought… Ice creams are like politicians; how they appear is not an indicator of how much substance they have. :rofl:


OK, but how about a light weight one with all sorts of unhealthy things in it (eg ice cream?) that makes one feel full quickly so the weight becomes secondary versus that heavy weight where you could eat the whole tub in one go? Not quantifiable how that happens?

I doubt we will sway each other although I understand your position(s).


It may not be a bad thing having a less dense ice cream. As Ice cream is loaded with sugar, fats etc, having a less dense or lighter weight per scoop means one eats less (by weight). This is the case if one eats the same number of scoops…and means one eats relatively less sugar, fats etc.


I too relate to your position. For me, in this case it’s not about swaying anyone, it’s about articulating different views for readers to consider. (To quote Monty Python: I’m here for the 1/2 hr argument :joy:)


Extra air or not, I don’t know, but I spotted a 250ml tub of Murray St (made by Bulla) ice cream on special in Woolies for $2.50, reduced from $10, when in town the other day. It was only after buying it that I realised I had no way to get it home without melting, so I was forced to eat it as soon as I was out of the shop. :rofl:
Just as well I carry spoons in the car for exactly those circumstances :wink:


Overrun is the term for the air in ice cream. Typically overrun varies between 20% & 150%


The amount of air in ice cream is measured as the percentage by which the air increases the volume of the mixture. And this measurement is called the “overrun”.
So if 1 quart of ice cream mixture becomes 1.5 quarts of ice cream once the machine has finished churning, we say that the ice cream has an overrun of 50%. Because it’s volume has increased by 50%

Recently my wife has had a go at making ice-cream - the old fashioned way without a machine - using eggs and cream. Creamy & delicious. I suspect its overrun was closer to 10%.


I’ve been making it with our excess bananas and home made soy milk based custard, overrun is minimal!


That is seriously the best excuse I have heard in a long time and I shall put spoons in the glove box for such an occasion :slight_smile: