Tim’s Dad took us to the Ben & Jerry’s factory tour while we were in Vermont. Aside from eating some of the world’s greatest icecream (fact) we also took a tour of the factory and learned a lot about the history of the company.
I always knew that Ben & Jerry’s icecream tasted incredible, but it wasn’t until I went on this tour that I really understood why it’s so special. First of all, the company was created with a pretty firm philosophy of social activism, sustainable production supply chains, and giving back to the community. To this day they have maintained their commitment to source their dairy from pastured Vermont cows as a way of investing in their local industry. And all of their eggs are from cage-free chickens. How great is that?
So the B&J icecream that we buy here in Australia really is created in the factory pictured below – not by an Australian manufacturer who’s been granted a license. And although I don’t feel great about the distance my icecream has travelled (and what that does for my local industry, and the environmental costs of its transportation) I do have a new appreciation for the price we pay for their icecream here. Ben & Jerry’s offset the environmental impact of shipping their icecream to Australia by investing in renewable energy projects, so that eases the guilt a little.
The thing is, this company is incredibly progressive and they’ve thought long and hard about their role in the world. They encourage their employees to volunteer in the community and support them financially to do it – and not with token gestures. They lobby government to improve food standards and on economic issues. They believe in telling people exactly what’s in the food they’re eating, and producing it ethically and locally. They operate a foundation that invests in causes that will bring about change for communities.
This is sounding a bit like a sponsored post, sorry. But it’s hard to not get excited about a corporate venture that’s doing so much good.
We weren’t allowed to take any photos inside the factory in case we were evil spies, but it was really cool to see. Great care is taken to ensure that no ice crystals form during any part of the manufacturing process which is one of the reasons why you’ll never see a tub of B&J icecream that’s bigger than a pint. It’s all part of the quality control process.
I forget what else I was going to say, because this post made me hungry.