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Ben & Jerry's scoops out smiles for students, support for good causes

By Abbey Gingras
On April 11, 2014

As many students filter in and out of the markets on campus, they pause at the ice cream sections and select the perfect flavor to assist with studying for midterms and finals. Ice cream is a comfort food, and with the launch of Ben & Jerry's new Core Flavors, it is more comforting than ever.

The Core Flavors line features pints of ice cream that are half one flavor, half another, with a core of something delicious in the middle. One of these flavors is Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge. This pint is half chocolate ice cream and half peanut butter ice cream, with both sides containing chunks of peanut butter cups. The center is creamy peanut butter fudge that is sure to satisfy any sweet tooth.

The concept of the Core Flavors seems like an ingenious idea to many-Huffington Post said Ben & Jerry's "nails it" with the new line. However, this is hardly the first time this company has pushed the envelope on creativity.

Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream has radically changed the world of ice cream and business since its founding in 1978. Two best friends, Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, took a $5 course on how to make ice cream. Then with a small investment, they opened their first shop in an old converted gas station in Burlington, Vermont. They have been mixing weird and wonderful ice creams ever since.

"I'm a big fan of Americone Dream. Number one, it's endorsed by Stephen Colbert," sophomore Rachel Staudt said. "But mainly, it's the combination of the caramel and the chocolate covered ice cream cone pieces."

Flavors like Americone Dream offer customers unique flavor combinations they can't get from other brands. Because of this, Ben & Jerry's has remained a popular source for ice cream across the country and around the world.

Amy Weller, who is in charge of tour logistics and marketing at the factory in Waterbury, Vermont, has worked at Ben & Jerry's for 22 years.

"We get three free pints of ice cream a day working here, in addition to pay," Weller said. "You can trade it for all kinds of stuff. I still bring it home pretty regularly, but people will trade with the guy who plows the driveway, when you go get your car inspected, when you buy a Christmas tree, anything. It's basically like cash."

If that were not incentive enough to work there, Weller said the atmosphere is what makes it great for her.

"I love all my co-workers, the people are definitely the best part of working here," Weller said. "You have to be pretty fun to work for an ice cream company."

Although they are beloved for their classic flavors, from the first Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough ice cream ever invented, to Cherry Garcia, to the coffee addicts dream of Coffee Coffee Buzz Buzz Buzz, Ben & Jerry's is more than just a comfort food. The company has taken a stand more than once on various controversial issues.

During the Occupy Wall Street movement in 2011, Ben & Jerry's handed out free ice cream to those participating in the protest as a sign of support. Additionally, the company is a strong advocate of safe and sustainable farming practices. Ben & Jerry's has received the Compassion in World Farming Good Dairy Award for quality treatment of its dairy cows.

As of now, the company's products are 100 percent free of genetically modified organisms, or GMOs. This means all the ice creams they make, and all the various chunks and mix-ins, are completely natural and devoid of chemicals. This move was made to coincide with their decision to advocate safe farming practices.

In addition to these movements, Ben & Jerry's often makes flavors that, in name and message, support different social or political issues. For instance, a now-retired flavor called Fossil Fuel called to attention the U.S.' reliance on oil and the need to find new energy sources. Recently, Ben & Jerry's in the UK created a flavor called Apple-y Ever After that shows support for same sex marriage.

Maybe now when students open a new pint of Ben & Jerry's before their next big exam, they can feel as comforted by the source and motives of their ice cream choice as they are by its simple deliciousness.

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