April 29, 2014
From the start of our journey to transition the ingredients in our products to be Fairtrade certified and sourced non-GMO by origin, we all thought it would be a pretty straightforward process. Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a cookie dough tree or a marshmallow river where we could go to source Fairtrade certified, non-GMO by origin ingredients, so it was a little more complex than we originally anticipated.
To give you some insight into the complexity of this ingredient conversion, this lovely pint of Phish Food was kind enough to show you what it’s made of. At first glance, a simple pint of Phish Food has five ingredients: rich chocolate ice cream, fudge fishies (or Phishies if you’re from VT), fluffy marshmallow, gooey caramel and vanilla. However, if you look at it long enough (like I did), you realize that each of those ingredients is made up of several ingredients too, 38 total to be exact. Therefore, sourcing our five ingredients from five suppliers actually meant that we needed to work with up to 38 suppliers to find 38 of the best ingredients to build our pint and that’s just for one flavor! We have hundreds of products and hundreds of ingredients in our collection, so long story short, we really had to dig deep into every flavor we make!
Ben & Jerry’s works with a network of awesome vendors which supply us with our sweet swirls and funky chunks, and as we embarked on our conversion adventure, they were with us every step of the way. We worked closely with these vendors to educate them on our mission to find and source Fairtrade certified and non–GMO by origin ingredients, and to make sure these new ingredients were just as good as the chunks and swirls Ben & Jerry’s is known and loved for. As our vendors became well versed in all things Fairtrade and non-GMO, they were able to work with their own suppliers to insure that any ingredients they purchase meet our standard.
We’re heading into the home stretch of our products being fully Fairtrade certified and sourced non-GMO by origin, so stay tuned as we’ll keep providing updates along the way.