Here’s some sweet news for ice cream lovers: Ben & Jerry’s yummy ice creams will soon all be fair trade sweetened and flavored!
The popular ice cream company first dipped into the fair trade movement back in 2005, when it started using fair trade coffee, chocolate and vanilla for some of its flavors — ensuring that the producers of those ingredients got a fairer share of the profits from the ice cream. At that time, Ben & Jerry’s foray into fair trade was met with both joy from eco-ethical ice cream lovers — and skepticism from fair trade activists. Why the negativity? Ben & Jerry’s kept on using conventional sugar instead of fair trade certified sugar in the ice creams awarded the fair trade logo — even though a lot more sugar went into the ice creams than the fair trade certified cocoa, coffee or vanilla.
Apparently, Ben & Jerry listened to those concerns and is now ready to make a complete switch. Not only is Ben & Jerry’s going to use fair trade sugar in all its ice creams — making pretty much every single flavor eligible for fair trade certification — the company is going to switch away from conventional products for all ingredients available with fair trade certification.
That means 11 ingredients in Ben & Jerry’s products — from sugar to coffee to banana to some nuts — will be fair trade certified. The switch to fair trade will be complete by the end of 2013.
As for the other major ingredients: Ben & Jerry’s shuns milk from cows shot up with rBGH, and plans to make a complete switch to certified humane cage-free farms eggs by the end of 2010 — both great eco-strides.
I'm still a bit sad, though, that Ben & Jerry has discontinued the four organic flavors it debuted in 2008. According to a customer service representative, the flavors didn’t sell — but I’m holding out hope that Ben and Jerry’s will decide to give organic flavors a try again, as the green market keeps growing.
Also on MNN: Coconut Bliss: Creamy vegan ice cream