The ingredients in Häagen-Daz Vanilla ice cream are what you would expect: Cream, milk, sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Five simple ingredients.
When you set a scoop of it out in the sun on a hot summer day, it does what you would expect: it melts.
But, when you buy a Good Value brand ice cream sandwich from Walmart, which is vanilla ice cream between two cookies, and set it in the hot sun, it doesn't melt. Seemingly ever. It just stays a gelatinous white goo.
What is going on here??
DJ and YouTuber Dan Collins of KIKN 100.5 in Sioux Falls, SD wondered the same thing when he did an experiment. Dan set out an ice cream sandwich from Walmart in the blazing South Dakota heat (that one day in July when it warms up, probably) and filmed the result. For comparison, he also set out a scoop of Blue Bunny brand ice cream.
The regular Blue Bunny ice cream melted, as you'd expect. The ice cream in the Good Value brand ice cream sandwich didn't. He left it in the sun for 75 minutes and it was still, somewhat impressively, intact, with very little or no melting.
Just what is this magical, physics-defying "food" made of??
It turns out that really, the added ingredients in Walmart's Great Value ice cream sandwiches that prevent it from melting are there for very important reasons. Guar gum is the most important; it acts as an emulsifier to stabilize the melting process. Additionally, calcium sulfate is present which helps the ice cream keep its shape and not ooze all over the place when a person bites in. Without the two of them, you can't have a proper ice cream sandwich.
The result is that there is really no difference between the puddle of melted ice cream and the stiff emulsified ice cream in an ice cream sandwich except the ingredients holding them in shape. They are essentially still melted, they just don't ooze and run like a scoop of Häagen-Daz or Blue Bunny does. They are not necessarily bad for you either!
So while it may not be the highest quality ice cream out there, you don't need to worry if it looks like your ice cream doesn't 'melt,' it's still very safe to eat.