Ben & Jerry's

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Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Holdings, Inc.
IndustryFood Processing
FoundedBurlington, Vermont (1978)
Founder(s)Ben Cohen
Jerry Greenfield
HeadquartersSouth Burlington, Vermont, US
Key peopleJostein Solheim (CEO)[1]
Ben Cohen
Jerry Greenfield
ProductsIce cream
ParentUnilever NV
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B&J redirects here. For the beverage company see Bartles and Jaymes.
Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Holdings, Inc.
IndustryFood Processing
FoundedBurlington, Vermont (1978)
Founder(s)Ben Cohen
Jerry Greenfield
HeadquartersSouth Burlington, Vermont, US
Key peopleJostein Solheim (CEO)[1]
Ben Cohen
Jerry Greenfield
ProductsIce cream
ParentUnilever NV

Ben & Jerry's is an American ice cream company, a division of the Anglo-Dutch Unilever conglomerate, that manufactures ice cream, frozen yogurt, sorbet, and ice cream novelty products. These are manufactured by Ben & Jerry's Homemade Holdings, Inc., headquartered in Burlington, Vermont, United States, with the main factory in Waterbury, Vermont. It is best known as a premium ice cream brand, founded in 1978 in Burlington, Vermont.

History[edit source | edit]

Jerry Greenfield (left) and Ben Cohen (right) in 2010.

Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield were childhood friends. While Jerry finished college, he found himself unable to make his way into medical school. Ben dropped out of college.[2] In 1977 Ben and Jerry completed a correspondence course on ice cream making from Pennsylvania State University's Creamery. Cohen has ageusia and so relied on "mouth feel". This led to the company's trademark chunks being mixed in with their ice cream.[3] On May 5, 1978, with a $12,000[4] investment the pair opened an ice cream parlor in a renovated gas station in downtown Burlington, Vermont. After two months they closed down after realizing they were not making any profits.[3] In 1979, they marked their anniversary by holding the first-ever free cone day, now an international annual celebration.

In 1980, Ben and Jerry rented space in an old spool and bobbin mill on South Champlain Street in Burlington and began packing their ice cream in pints. In 1981, the first Ben and Jerry's franchise opened on Route 7 in Shelburne, Vermont (where Marco's Pizza is now). In 1983, Ben & Jerry’s ice cream was used to build “the world’s largest ice cream sundae” in St. Albans, Vermont; the sundae weighed 27,102 pounds. That same year, the cows on their cartons were redesigned by local artist, Woody Jackson.[5]

In 1984, Häagen-Dazs wanted to limit distribution of Ben & Jerry’s in Boston, prompting Ben & Jerry’s to file suit against the parent company, Pillsbury, in its now famous “What’s the Doughboy Afraid Of?” campaign. In 1987, Häagen-Dazs again tried to enforce exclusive distribution, and Ben & Jerry’s filed its second lawsuit against the Pillsbury Company. In 1985, the Ben & Jerry’s Foundation was established at the end of the year with a gift from Ben & Jerry's to fund community-oriented projects; it was then provided with 7.5% of the company’s annual pre-tax profits. In 1986, Ben & Jerry’s launched its “Cowmobile”, a modified mobile home used to distribute free scoops of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream in a unique, cross-country “marketing drive”—driven and served by Ben and Jerry themselves. The “Cowmobile” burned to the ground outside of Cleveland four months later, but there were no injuries. Ben said it looked like “the world’s largest baked Alaska”.[6]

In 1988, the pair won the title of U.S. Small Business Persons Of The Year, awarded by U.S. President Ronald Reagan.[7] Also that year, the first brownies were ordered from Greyston Bakery, which led to the development of the popular Chocolate Fudge Brownie flavor.[8] In 1992, Ben & Jerry’s joined in a co-operative campaign with the national non-profit Children's Defense Fund; the campaign goal was to bring children’s basic needs to the top of the national agenda. Over 70,000 postcards were sent to Congress concerning kids and other national issues. In 1995, they hired Robert Holland, Jr. as CEO after holding an essay contest as part of the search. Holland left after 20 months following philosophical differences and was replaced by Perry Odak in 1997.[9]

Ben & Jerry's ice-cream branch at the United Square Shopping Mall in Singapore.

In April 2000, Ben & Jerry's sold the company to Anglo-Dutch multinational food giant Unilever.[10] Unilever said it hopes to carry on the tradition of engaging "in these critical, global economic and social missions". Although the founders' names are still attached to the product, they do not hold any board or management position and are not involved in day-to-day management of the company.[citation needed]

In 2010, Jostein Solheim, a Unilever executive from Norway, became the new CEO of the company and had this to say about the transition: "My mantra that I've repeated a hundred times since starting at Ben & Jerry's is: ‘Change is a wonderful thing,'" he said. "The world needs dramatic change to address the social and environmental challenges we are facing. Values led businesses can play a critical role in driving that positive change. We need to lead by example, and prove to the world that this is the best way to run a business. Historically, this company has been and must continue to be a pioneer to continually challenge how business can be a force for good and address inequities inherent in global business."[11]

In 2001, Ben & Jerry's U.S. completed transition to "Eco-Pint" packaging, which packaged all pint flavors in environmentally friendly unbleached paperboard Eco-Pint containers, a decision it later reversed. The use of brown-kraft unbleached paperboard had been a critical first step toward a totally biodegradable pint made without added chlorine. Due to what they described as increasing supply, quality, and cost challenges, Ben & Jerry's discontinued their use of the Eco-Pint in 2006, transitioning to a pint container made out of a bleached paperboard that it said was more readily available with superior forming characteristics.[citation needed]

On Earth Day in 2005, when a vote in the U.S. Senate proposed the opening of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling, Ben & Jerry's launched a protest by creating the largest ever Baked Alaska, which weighed 900 pounds, and placed it in front of the U.S. Capitol Building.[12][13]

In March 2009, "CyClone Dairy"[14] launched an advertising campaign and a website to promote its milk products, which purportedly came exclusively from cloned cows.[15] On April 1, 2009 (April Fool's Day), Ben & Jerry's announced that it was behind this fake company. Ben & Jerry's had created the tongue-in-cheek hoax to raise awareness of the increasing presence of products from cloned animals within American food,[16][17] and to campaign for a tracking system of cloned-animal products.[18] The hoax was revealed on April Fool's Day with the message: "We believe you should have the right to choose which foods you eat – and not to eat cloned foods if you don’t want to. And that's why Ben & Jerry’s believes we need a national clone tracking system, so people and companies can know where their food is coming from."[19]

On February 24, 2012, Ben & Jerry's released a new Greek Frozen Yogurt line, which comes in eight flavors: Strawberry Shortcake, Blueberry Vanilla Graham, Raspberry Fudge Chunk, Banana Peanut Butter,[20] and Vanilla (scoop shop exclusive):[21] On April 12, 2013 Pineapple Passionfruit, Vanilla Honey Caramel, and Liz Lemon were added to the Greek Yogurt line.[22]

In 1994, Ben & Jerry's: The Inside Scoop, written by Fred "Chico" Lager, former CEO of Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream, was published. This book tracks the history of how Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream got started. The book focuses on "How Two Real Guys Built a Business with a Social Conscience and a Sense of Humor." [23]

Original flavors and sundaes[edit source | edit]

A pint of Ben & Jerry's ice cream

Chubby Hubby consists of vanilla malt ice cream swirled with fudge and peanut butter, and containing pretzel nuggets covered in fudge and filled with peanut butter. For the month of September 2009, Ben and Jerry's, in partnership with Freedom to Marry, renamed Chubby Hubby to Hubby Hubby, in celebration of the legalization of same-sex marriage in the company's home state of Vermont. The carton featured the image of two men getting married beneath a rainbow.[24][25][26]

On March 13, 2012, Ben & Jerry’s announced it will be changing the name of one of its ice cream flavors in the UK in support of equal marriage rights for same-sex couples. Oh! My! Apple Pie! will become Apple-y Ever After and tubs will feature a gay couple atop a wedding cake decorated with rainbows.[27]

Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield appeared on the The Colbert Report on March 5, 2007 to promote their new ice cream flavor, Stephen Colbert's AmeriCone Dream, and their grassroots education and advocacy project, TrueMajority.

The company renamed a flavor, Yes Pecan, in reference to Barack Obama's victory in the 2008 U.S. Presidential election. They later decided in January 2009 to donate all proceeds made on the sale of that flavor to the Common Cause Education Fund.[28]

On March 2, 2011 Cohen and Greenfield appeared on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and unveiled their new flavor of ice cream, Late Night Snack, whose carton features a picture of Jimmy Fallon on it.[29]

The Vermonster is a large ice cream sundae served in a "Vermonster Bucket" in Ben & Jerry's "scoop shops." Its ingredients are 20 scoops of ice cream, 4 bananas, 4 ladles of hot fudge, 3 chocolate chip cookies, 1 chocolate fudge brownie, 10 scoops of walnuts, 2 scoops each of 4 toppings of your choice, and whipped cream. It contains 14,000 calories, and 500 grams of fat. The Vermonster Challenge is an annual charity event held by Ben & Jerry's in which teams of four compete to finish a Vermonster and win free ice cream for a year.[30]

Girl in cow costume promoting Free Cone Day outside a Ben & Jerry's shop in Stockholm, Sweden

Free Cone Day is an annual event held between late March and early May, in which Ben & Jerry's scoop shops give out free ice cream cups and cones. The most recent event took place on Tuesday, April 9, 2013 from noon to 8 p.m. The first Free Cone Day was held on Saturday, May 5, 1979 by Ben and Jerry as a customer and staff appreciation event for the first anniversary of their store's opening.

Over one million free cones are given away each year, prompting the company's ad slogan "Be One In A Million." Charitable organizations are often present at the stores each year and enjoy a significant amount of fundraising success. Often, local celebrities show up at various stores, promoting the day and the charities there.[31] Sometimes the event is scheduled to coincide with Earth Day and sometimes volunteers are on hand with clipboards and voter registration forms to help those who would like to register to vote.

The Ben and Jerry's ice cream factory has an ice cream graveyard on site, where the graves of past ice cream flavors exist. Favorite flavors can be resurrected from their grave to be brought back into stores. Customers can request the return of a favorite flavor by filling out a form on the website.[32]

Cultural significance and reach[edit source | edit]

The interior of the Ben & Jerry's in Hoboken, New Jersey.

Ben & Jerry's was the first brand-name ice cream to be taken into space aboard the Space Shuttle.The second one was Tesco's value brand ice cream. Most of the cruise ships of the Royal Caribbean International have a Ben & Jerry's scoop shop on board.[33]

Controversies[edit source | edit]

Rumors have suggested that Ben & Jerry's supported the defense of Mumia Abu-Jamal, who was convicted in 1982 of killing Philadelphia Police officer Daniel Faulkner. Despite several appeals, Abu-Jamal's conviction has been upheld. As a result of this alleged support, e-mails claimed that the Fraternal Order of Police called for a boycott of Ben & Jerry's products.[34] The Ben & Jerry's website denies that the company has had any connection with the case; it adds that Cohen did sign a petition as a private citizen asking that "the system of American justice be followed fully in the case."[35]

The company raised controversy in 2006 after releasing a flavor of ice cream called "Black and Tan." It had named the flavor after the alcoholic drink made by mixing stout with pale ale. The controversy stemmed from the fact that Black and Tans was also a name given to the militia paramilitary police force of British World War I veterans recruited during the Irish Revolution who to this day still rankle Irish nationalist sentiment.[36]

The Center for Science in the Public Interest, a consumer-advocacy group, had urged Ben & Jerry's to stop labeling their ice cream as "all natural" due to the company's use of corn syrup, alkalised cocoa, and other chemically modified ingredients.[37][38] In September 2010, the company agreed to stop labeling their ice cream and frozen yogurt as "all natural."

In 2011, Ben & Jerry's released a flavor named Schweddy Balls, in homage to the Saturday Night Live skit of the same name.[39] The American Family Association protested, saying that the name was too explicit for grocery store shelves. Actor Alec Baldwin, who appeared in the SNL skit as baker Pete Schweddy, hosted the September 24, 2011, episode of the show and mentioned the AFA's outcry in his introduction: "[...] but one sketch people always ask me about is Pete Schweddy and his famous Schweddy Balls. And now Schweddy Balls is its own Ben & Jerry's ice cream flavor. Now, true story, true story, there is a family organization that is angry about the name because they think it is inappropriate for the grocery store aisle. Well if you don't like Schweddy Balls, Ben & Jerry's has a new ice cream flavor just for you; it's called Go Fudge Yourself."[citation needed]

In 2012, a Ben & Jerry's franchise near the Harvard University campus created a scoop-shop-only flavor made to order, named "Taste the Lin-Sanity" in honor of Asian-American basketball player Jeremy Lin, a Harvard alumnus. It contained lychee honey swirls and fortune cookie pieces, but after initial backlash, Ben & Jerry's replaced the fortune cookies with waffle cookies. The franchisee said that the primary reason was because the fortune cookies got soggy.[40] The operator of the scoop shop later apologized to anyone offended by their Lin-Sanity flavor. Ben & Jerry's corporation never intended to mass-produce or distribute the flavor[41]

Global locations[edit source | edit]

Ben and Jerry's has locations around the world.[42]

Wages[edit source | edit]

Ben & Jerry's used to have a policy that no employee's rate of pay shall exceed five times that of entry-level employees.[43] In 1995, entry-level employees were paid $8 hourly, and the highest paid employee was President and Chief Operating Officer Chuck Lacy, who earned $150,000 annually. When Ben Cohen resigned as Chief Executive Officer and Ben & Jerry's announced the search for a new CEO in 1995, the company ended the five-to-one-ratio policy.[44]

Ben & Jerry's employees are offered several perks, including up to three pints a day of the company's ice cream for free.[45]

See also[edit source | edit]

References[edit source | edit]

  1. ^ "Ben & Jerry's new CEO". Ben & Jerry's Press Release. Archived from the original on June 04 2007. Retrieved April 23, 2007. 
  2. ^ "Our History". Ben & Jerry's. 
  3. ^ a b "Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream – History". Ben & Jerry's. 
  4. ^ "Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream – History". Ben & Jerry's. Archived from the original on March 25, 2010. Retrieved April 2, 2010. 
  5. ^ Dan Chu and Martha Babcock. "The Whole Country Cowtows as Artist Woody Jackson Makes His Big Moove Toward Udder Success", People magazine, August 28, 1989
  6. ^ "Jerry Greenfield". Celebrity Websites. March, 2005. Archived from the original on March 24, 2008. Retrieved April 13, 2008. 
  7. ^ Ben Jerry's founders are named Small Business Persons of the Year, Palm Beach Post, May 10, 1988
  8. ^ "Baking In The Glory". Ben & Jerry's. Retrieved July 21, 2008. 
  9. ^ Staff report (January 3, 1997). Ben & Jerry's Appoints Former Gun Exec as CEO. Los Angeles Times
  10. ^ "The Globalization of Ben & Jerry's". Common Dreams. Retrieved April 13, 2000. 
  11. ^ "Jostein Solheim". Food Processing. Archived from the original on 2011-09-28. Retrieved April 1, 2010. 
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^ CyClone Dairy
  15. ^ "Perfect Cows. Perfect Milk". Cyclone Dairy. Archived from the original on April 25, 2010. Retrieved April 2, 2010. 
  16. ^ "FDA’S flawed approach to assessing the safety of food from animal clones" (PDF). March 2007. Retrieved April 2, 2010. 
  17. ^ Paynter, Ben (October 16, 2007). "Cloned Beef (and Pork and Milk): It's What's for Dinner". Wired. Retrieved April 2, 2010. 
  18. ^ "Take Action: Tell Congress to create a tracking system for cloned animals!". Archived from the original on April 16, 2010. Retrieved April 2, 2010. 
  19. ^ "Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream – Cow Cloning". Ben & Jerry's. Archived from the original on April 26, 2010. Retrieved April 2, 2010. 
  20. ^ "Ben&Jerry's Greek Frozen Yogurt". Ben & Jerry's. Retrieved June 1, 2013. 
  21. ^ "Ben&Jerry's "Our Flavors"". Ben & Jerry's. Retrieved June 1, 2013. 
  22. ^
  23. ^ Template:Lager, Fred "Chico". Ben & Jerry's: The Inside Scoop. 1st ed. New York: Crown Publishers, Inc., 1994. Print.
  24. ^ Moore, Matthew (September 2, 2009). "Ben and Jerry's renames ice cream Hubby Hubby in celebration of gay marriage". The Daily Telegraph (UK). Archived from the original on September 02 2009. Retrieved September 2, 2009. 
  25. ^ Daley, Bill (September 2, 2009). "Hubba hubba! Hubby Hubby ice cream introduced". Chicago Tribune (( Retrieved September 2, 2009. 
  26. ^ "Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream – Flavors – HubbyHubby". Ben & Jerry's. September 1, 2009. Archived from the original on March 19, 2010. Retrieved April 2, 2010. 
  27. ^ "Ice cream giant supports gay marriage with new flavor". March 13, 2012. Retrieved March 13, 2012. ""Ice cream giant Ben and Jerry’s has announced today it will be changing the name of one of its ice cream flavours in the UK in support of equal marriage rights for gays.'" 
  28. ^ Strzemien, Anya (January 9, 2009). "Yes Pecan!: Ben & Jerry's Announces Obama Ice Cream". Huffington Post. Retrieved April 2, 2010. 
  29. ^ "Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream - Late Night Snack". 
  30. ^ Walsh, Erica (October 2009). "Extreme Pig Outs: Meals That Will Blow Your Mind and Tip the Scale". Travel Channel. 
  31. ^ (April 22, 2009). "Ben & Jerry’s 31st Annual "Free Cone Day" Serves More Than 7,300 Scoops & Raises Money for Local Charities". Retrieved February 28, 2013. 
  32. ^ "Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream - Resurrect My Favorite Flavor". 
  33. ^ "Onboard Experience". Royal Caribbean International. Retrieved April 2, 2010. 
  34. ^ "The FOP's Boycott for Daniel Faulkner". Retrieved April 2, 2010. 
  35. ^ "Support Home Page". Ben & Jerry's. Retrieved April 2, 2010. 
  36. ^ Bowcott, Owen (April 19, 2006). "Ben & Jerry's new flavour leaves bad taste". The Guardian (UK). Retrieved August 6, 2009. 
  37. ^ Clark, Andrew (September 28, 2010). "Ben and Jerry's admits ice-cream with a liberal conscience not 'all natural'". The Guardian (London). Archived from the original on October 01 2010. Retrieved September 28, 2010. 
  38. ^ "Ben & Jerry's Takes 'All Natural' Claims Off Ice Cream Labels". NPR. September 27, 2010. Archived from the original on September 30, 2010. Retrieved September 30, 2010. 
  39. ^
  40. ^ Rocheleau, Matt (February 24, 2012). "Ben & Jerry's launches 'Lin-Sanity' flavor, takes out fortune cookie ingredient". The Boston Globe. Retrieved February 24, 2012. ""There seemed to be a bit of an initial backlash about it, but we obviously weren't looking to offend anybody and the majority of the feedback about it has been positive," he said." 
  41. ^ "Ben & Jerry's sorry for fortune cookies". February 26, 2012. Retrieved February 26, 2012. ""We offer a heartfelt apology if anyone was offended by our handmade Lin-Sanity flavor," Ben & Jerry's said in a statement. ." 
  42. ^ "International Locations". Ben & Jerry's. Retrieved September 21, 2012. 
  43. ^,0,7160910.story?page=2
  44. ^ Carlin, Peter (February 5, 1995). "Pure Profit – For Small Companies That Stress Social Values as Much as the Bottom Line, Growing Up Hasn't Been an Easy Task. Just Ask Ben & Jerry's, Patagonia and Starbucks". Los Angeles Times. 
  45. ^

Further reading[edit source | edit]

External links[edit source | edit]