In October, many of us were essentially living in Washington state; we scooped free ice cream and shouted our support from the rafters for a yes vote on i522, the initiative for mandatory GMO labeling. Unfortunately i522 did not pass, but the work in Vermont is still going full steam ahead converting our own ingredients and flavors to Fairtrade certified and Non-GMO sourced.
We’re excited that we have approved and sourced more than 85% the 110 ingredients that we’re transitioning to Fairtrade certified and Non-GMO sourced. What that means in real terms is that we’ve worked closely with our suppliers to eliminate any GMO ingredient they might be using in—for example—the cookies we buy from them to put in our ice cream. And at the same time, we make sure that any sugar, cocoa, vanilla, coffee or banana in those ingredients comes from a Fairtrade certified source. After that, our Flavor Gurus taste test the new ingredients and make sure they hit the same high bar for quality, taste and texture that we hold all of our ingredients to. Sometimes this takes a little time and a couple of tries, because we’re picky about deliciousness of our chunks and swirls.
While all of this ingredient swapping is going on, we’re also redesigning our package so you’ll know when you pick up a pint of our Fairtrade certified ice cream made with only Non-GMO sourced ingredients! We’ve been working with our artists on the most delicious-looking package we could dream up and trust us, it will make your mouth water!
We’re still planning to start fully producing our Fairtrade certified flavors with only Non-GMO sourced ingredients by early next year (2014). That gives our suppliers enough time to provide us the new ingredients, and for us to use up our current packaging and ingredients. We’re being careful to waste as little as possible as we transition.
It’s a lot of work, but our team stays focused on the larger picture—on the farmers in Belize who are getting a fair wage for their sugar cane; on the farmers in the US who will grow a field of Non-GMO corn next year instead of buying their Genetically Modified seeds again; on the children of producers who have a chance to go to school because their parents are part of a fair trade cooperative. It’s easy to stay focused on moving forward when it helps make a positive difference in so many lives.
Thanks for being there to support us along the way!