Beloved ice cream giant Ben & Jerry’s is taking another step toward being the coolest brand to hit your freezer shelves. Ben & Jerry’s has committed to utilizing exclusively non-GMO ingredients in its ice cream products by the end of 2013, and the warm-hearted company’s in-depth and clear outreach throughout the process won’t leave you in the cold.
Founded by counterculture king Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield in 1978, Ben & Jerry’s has long been known for its contributions to environmental and social justice. Their mission statement elaborates, “We have a progressive, nonpartisan social mission that seeks to meet human needs and eliminate injustices in our local, national and international communities by integrating these concerns into our day-to-day business activities. Our focus is on children and families, the environment and sustainable agriculture on family farms.”
Rob Michalak, the company’s global director of social mission explained the new push. “We want to play a role in increasing demand for conventional non-GMO ingredients and non-GMO foods and to help create a robust non-GMO agriculture sector.” The whole consumer right to know issue increased our momentum. We thought it was important to become non-GMO by origin and let people know that.”
Currently, according to the Ben & Jerry’s website, in the United States and Canada 80% of Ben & Jerry’s ingredients by volume are sourced non-GMO. All of the company’s European products are already non-GMO and they’ve committed to the same high standard for their U.S. counterparts. In the meantime, the utmost transparency is their strategy, “Beginning now, and throughout 2013, we will transition packaging so that all Ben & Jerry’s products will be labeled with respect to GMO by the end of 2014.” Curious consumers can follow their journey toward a non-GMO product on the company’s blog, where last week the controversy over GMO’s is explained in a wonderfully frank and fair manner. What other products would you like to see take pledge for non-GMO purity without legislation? Would self-imposed labelling of GMO byproducts alone be a step that would make you feel informed as a consumer? — Casandra Armour