The popular ice cream company Ben & Jerry’s has a history of providing better ingredients than its competitors.
But during the past 15-plus year surge of genetically modified organisms in the United States, the company went along with the market and eventually began using GMO ingredients just like everyone else.
They cut a deal with the popular Heath brand to use its toffee/chocolate candy bars in one of its flavors, but now, Ben & Jerry’s is ditching the Heath name, and the GMOs, for its new flavor, ‘Coffee Toffee Bar Crunch.’
The changes will be made without a raise in prices; the fast-casual Mexican chain Chipotle plans to raise their own prices once they complete their switch to non-GMO soon.
The irony in the Ben & Jerry’s situation is that their parent company, Unilever, spent more than $450,000 to help defeat a California GMO labeling ballot initiative in 2012, badly outspending their opponents and turning the tide with deceptive ads.
Ben & Jerry’s dealt with a lot of criticism over their parent company’s actions, but now, they’re turning the tables, following the Chipotle playbook and taking the bold initiative of going non-GMO.
Ben & Jerry’s Going (Mostly) Non-GMO & Fair Trade for All 40 Flavors
Among the switches in the ingredients include a change from beet sugar to cane sugar, since most beet sugar is now genetically modified.
Ben & Jerry’s also announced a new flavor, ‘Food Fight Fudge,’ with one dollar of the proceeds sold in Vermont ice cream shops to go toward Vermont’s fund to defend against a recent GMO companies’ lawsuit over its new GMO labeling law.
In total, 40 percent of Ben & Jerry’s flavors have already been made non-GMO (in terms of the non-milk ingredients, anyway); 14 of its most popular flavors, including ‘Half Baked’ and ‘Chocolate Fudge Brownie’ according to this article from mychamplainvalley.com.
The company plans to make all of their ingredients non-GMO and Fair Trade by the end of the year, but there’s a catch: the milk is still quite likely to come from cows that were fed GMO corn. Ben & Jerry’s says that sourcing milk from non-GMO cows is too difficult at this point in time to work into its supply chain, as about 90% of all commercial cows eat the GMO corn in the U.S.
It is for this reason that the company’s products will not qualify for the Non-GMO Project Verification stamp of approval on their packaging.
Going Non-GMO and Fair Trade was “was a little more complex than we originally anticipated,” the company has said.
Unfortunately for them, that’s the reality of life in the 21st century GMO-contaminated United States of America, but we have to applaud their efforts to try, and to be transparent during the process as Chipotle was.
And hopefully, their changes and the growing GMO demand for non-GMO will give them more options in the future. We’re on our way, folks.
Thanks for reading! So what do you think, will you support Ben & Jerry’s for their changes or avoid them because of the milk from cows that have been fed GMOs? Let us know in the comments below or on our Facebook page.