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How Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream Is Saving the World

by Elke Erschfeld

Ben & Jerry’s ice cream flavors are set to save the world—from Save Our Swirled, meant to draw attention to climate change, to Phish Food—one pint at a time

During a recent trip to Stowe, I took a tour of Ben & Jerry’s Waterbury factory. A tasty perk at the end of the tour was a free sample of the flavor of the day, which was Strawberry Cheesecake with a Graham Cracker Swirl. It’s made with Fair-Trade Certified ingredients, contains no GMOs, uses cage-free eggs and is sold in responsibly-sourced packaging that is FSC certified. And of course, it was delicious—and well deserved after the 30-minute tour.

Ben & Jerry’s ice cream factory tour started with a short video at the Cow Over the Moon Theater, which illustrated the history of the company in a fun way. We were always asked to please keep “mooo-ving” and we had the option to take the “vanilla-vator” to get upstairs. 

It all started in 1978 at a renovated gas station in Burlington, where Ben & Jerry opened their first ice cream scoop shop. The founders celebrated their first year anniversary by holding their first Free Cone Day, which meant free scoops for all, all day long. 

Luckily, this tradition still exists today. What became pretty clear throughout the video is that Ben & Jerry’s puts respect for society and the environment at the core of their business. It’s a certified B Corporation that is committed to include Fair-Trade ingredients in the production process to benefit farmers in developing countries. In fact, as of January 2015, all of the pint, mini cup and scoop shop flavors are made with Fair-Trade certified ingredients like sugar, cocoa, vanilla, coffee and bananas.

After the introductory video we were able to see the different production steps from the glassed-in mezzanine. Even from there, the light-hearted branding of Ben & Jerry’s, with its quirky illustrations, was clearly visible at the end of the production line. 

The packaging has a homemade feel and appeals to your inner child with bold cow patterns and original names that often promote social causes. For example, if you buy a pint of Phish Food Flavor you support the WaterWheel Foundation. It’s a good excuse to eat more ice cream without the guilt.

Connect with Elke on Twitter @eco_chic_design


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