Ben & Jerry's launches fairtrade ice cream in UK

By Chris Mercer

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Ice cream, Vanilla

Vanilla ice cream carrying the Fairtrade symbol will hit British
supermarkets for the first time in August, as maker Ben &
Jerry's returns to the campaign trail.

Ben & Jerry's said it would launch 500ml and 150ml tubs of the fairtrade ice cream in selected Co-op stores and across Sainsbury's, Britain's third largest supermarket, this August.

The ice cream will also be launched almost simultaneously in Ireland, Belgium and the Netherlands, with more European countries on the cards in the near future.

The move is another boost for Britain's blossoming fairtrade foods market, and also signals Ben & Jerry's moving back to its campaigning roots after a few quiet years.

Sales of foods carrying the Fairtrade logo in Britain rose 40 per cent last year to £195m, according to the country's Fairtrade Foundation.

Ben & Jerry's ice cream will become the latest brand to tap this trend, sourcing both fairtrade sugar from the Manduvirá farmers' co-operative in Paraguay and fairtrade vanilla from four co-operatives in India. The vanilla ice cream will be sold at the same price as regular Ben & Jerry's products.

The company said this was the start of a long-term commitment to bring fairtrade ingredients into its ice cream, adding that it expected to convert other flavours over the next year.

"The whole concept of fairtrade goes to the heart of our values and the sense of right and wrong. Nobody wants to buy something that was made by exploiting somebody else,"​ said Ben & Jerry's co-founder Jerry Greenfield.

His high profile role in the launch of fairtrade ice cream is another example of how the US-based company, which is now owned by Unilever, has recovered some of its campaigning vigour recently.

The group has just started a campaign in America criticising the US government for spending nearly $30bn (£16bn) every year on nuclear deterrence, while the country ranks 18th in terms of the percentage of children in poverty.

It said experts believed up to $13bn could be cut from US nuclear spending and claimed that $2bn per year would be enough to provide health insurance for one million of America's nine million uninsured children.

Ice cream tubs with special packaging and a whole page of the Ben & Jerry's website have been devoted to the cause.

And, as if it wasn't enough to take on the American government over one issue, Ben & Jerry's are also running a campaign against climate change.

The scheme, called Lick Global Warming, advises consumers on how to put pressure on local and national authorities as well as reduce their personal carbon emissions.

Ben & Jerry's renewed mix of ice cream and politics may sit well with consumers who are becoming more concerned about ethics in food, such as sustainable production, fairtrade and food miles.

A recent study by the UK's Co-operative bank suggests spending on ethical food, including organic, fair trade and free range, was up from £3.7bn to £4.1bn in the 2004-5 period.

Related topics: Ingredients, Ice Cream

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