We review the entire country and culture of New Zealand, one thing at a time. Today, the new Primo x Tip Top collaborative flavoured milks.
Before Lewis Road Creamery came along and changed the flavoured milk landscape in New Zealand forever, there was Primo. Primo was humble – it was the everyman’s milk. It came in sensible, traditional flavours. It did what it said on the tin.
But consumers no longer want humble; they want Belgian chocolate and coconut, they want gingerbread, they want caramel and white chocolate, they want Colombian espresso. So you can’t blame Primo for trying to innovate to keep up with the competition.
Which brings us to the subject of today’s review: Primo x Tip Top Jelly Tip Flavoured Milk and Primo x Tip Top Goody Goody Gum Drops Flavoured Milk. Primo has collaborated with its Fonterra stablemate Tip Top before, releasing mint choc chip and hokey pokey-flavoured milks in 2017.
But this time it has gone too far. It would appear no one from Primo read Hayden Donnell’s impassioned call to ban all Kiwiana fusion foods, because this is exactly what he was talking about.
Anyway. The Spinoff Board of Review started with the Goody Goody Gum Drops. It’s certainly a Kiwi classic, but GGGD can be polarising. How would the milk version fare?
What first struck our panel was the colour. “It kind of looks like pond scum,” noted Toby Morris, but we had to concede this disconcerting hue was true to the ice cream. While Alex Casey likened the aroma to Spray ’n’ Wipe, other tasters believed it did invoke the mysterious “bubblegum” flavour of the frozen original.
“Shit yeah, it tastes like the ice cream!” exclaimed Tina Tiller on taking her first sip. Other board members were less forthcoming.
“I feel like Goody Goody Gum Drops is so married to the texture of the gum drops that when it becomes liquid, it’s just very, very sad,” concluded Casey.
Duncan Greive, who swished the milk around in his mouth like some sort of posho at a wine tasting, was even harsher. “Yeah, that’s disgusting. I’ve always hated the flavour of Goody Goody Gum Drops, but it was leavened by the gum drops. You get none of the cooling consistency and texture of the ice cream, none of the genre-bending of the gum drops, only the foul, bubblegum-meets-Toilet-Duck of the ice cream. No stars.”
Mark Kelliher, who admitted to enjoying the core flavour of the Goody Goody Gum Drops ice cream more than the drops that punctuate it, found the milk lacking. “To make up for the missing texture they should have intensified the flavour profile.”
Jose Barbosa agreed. “They chickened out,” he said bluntly. “It’s not strong enough. The flavour of that green ice cream is very distinct, but here they pulled back for some reason. They should have had the courage of their convictions and gone for it. Primo, have some balls.”
We moved on to the Jelly Tip, a more universally appreciated ice cream than ol’ mate GGGD, which gave us some hope that the milk might provide us with a more positive experience.
But it wasn’t to be. Toby Morris detected an “almost children’s cough syrup” note, while others felt the milk failed to live up to the triple-component bliss that is the Jelly Tip on a stick. The raspberry jelly flavour was present, but the vanilla ice cream and chocolate were nowhere to be seen.
“Bleurgh,” said Jihee Junn. “You know, this is disgusting,” she added in an accent inspired by this iconic YouTube video.
Barbosa reiterated his earlier thoughts. “It’s a gaudy novelty drink, you might as well lean into it. This is not worth my time.”
Casey was more complimentary. “It’s all right, it’s not bad. If you melted down a Jelly Tip… this would not be far off.” She felt it had a watered-down aspect, however, and paled in comparison to Whittaker’s Jelly Tip chocolate, which she believes to be “a true rendering of the Jelly Tip essence”.
Greive agreed. “I mean, that’s basically like a watered-down raspberry. It’s nowhere near as bad as the abomination that was Goody Goody Gum Drops, but these should not have been made. These crossovers… someone needs to do ask, does this have a reason to exist? Is this an improvement or at least an interesting footnote to the original?
“This is appalling,” he concluded. “And I will now finish it because I like sugar.”
Good or bad? Bad.
Verdict: It should be illegal for these to exist.
The Spinoff Weekly compiles the best stories of the week – an essential guide to modern life in New Zealand, emailed out on Monday evenings.