The Ben & Jerry’s story first began in 1978, when school friends Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield opened their first scoop shop in a renovated Vermont gas station.
To this day, Ben & Jerry’s celebrates the anniversary of that first shop opening with ‘Free Cone Day’ when ice cream is dished out (at no charge!) at scores of scoop shops across the globe. It is still meant as a sincere and heartfelt “thanks” to Ben & Jerry’s fans.
From those early days, fans would form lines outside of the very first scoop shop for a taste of Ben & Jerry’s delicious ice cream – blending fresh Vermont milk, cream and generous portions of their signature add ins known as “chunks” and “swirls.”
Ten years later in 1988, there were more than 80 Ben & Jerry’s ice cream scoop shops in 18 states in the US and in a handful of other countries. In 1994, Ben & Jerry’s began distribution of ice cream in the UK. The rest of the world didn’t have long to wait.
Ben & Jerry’s was infused with a significant global reach when it was acquired by Unilever in 2000. The new partnership offers lovers of Ben & Jerry’s even more choice to find Ben & Jerry’s in 33 countries around the globe!
The stuff of legend
Ben & Jerry’s amazing flavors – and creative names – are the stuff of legend. From Cherry Garcia to Chunky Monkey the iconic line-up has put smiles on faces no matter what your favorite flavor is. As you’ll find in the company’s Product Mission Ben & Jerry’s has committed itself to make, distribute, and sell the finest quality products “with a continued commitment to incorporating wholesome, natural ingredients.”
Classic concoctions please the sense of linked prosperity as much as the tummy with flavors such as Chocolate Fudge Brownie, chocolate ice cream with chewy fudgy brownies made by the Greyston Bakery in Yonkers, NY which serves the less fortunate with housing, a job and skills training. It’s the manner in which Ben & Jerry’s matches its products with its passion for giving back that truly hits the company’s sweet spot.
The social mission
Respect for society and the environment is at the heart of the way Ben & Jerry’s does business. In October 2012 Ben & Jerry’s announced that it had become a certified B (or Benefit) Corp proving its interest in more than just a singular bottom line focus.
Ben & Jerry’s social mission commits it to operating in “a way that actively recognizes the central role that business plays in society by initiating innovative ways to improve the quality of life locally, nationally, and internationally.” Its product mission, meanwhile, even commits the company to “business practices that respect the earth and the environment.” It’s all part of the belief that Ben & Jerry’s shouldn’t just be the best ice cream company in the world, it should also be the best ice cream company for the world. It demonstrates these commitments in many ways:
Ben & Jerry's aims to incorporate values led sourcing throughout its supply chain wherever possible. We realised long ago that we can make a greater impact by purchasing ingredients from businesses that make a difference in their local communities and demonstrating we can still be a profitable business in doing so.
Ben & Jerry's is fully committed to transitioning its product line to purchase Fairtrade ingredients which benefit farmers in developing countries around the globe. We began by focusing on the most significant ingredients by volume including vanilla, cocoa, coffee, bananas and sugar. It has taken longer than expected but Ben & Jerry's remains fully committed to completing the Fairtrade transition by 2014.
Ben & Jerry’s environmental commitment historically has included structuring its own manufacturing practices and distribution as environmentally friendly as possible. The practices secured a visit from the Environmental Protection Agency to benchmark with the company’s best practices. Investments in wind energy, solar usage, travel offsets, and carbon neutrality in some cases even from cow to tub have highlighted the company’s commitment to the earth.
Ben & Jerry’s on-going commitment to sustainable dairy farming can be seen through its Caring Dairy program conducted in Vermont and the Netherlands with the farmers who supply the company with fresh milk and cream.