Ben & Jerry's

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Ben & Jerry's Homemade Holdings, Inc.

legal form Corporation
founding 1978
Seat South Burlington , Vermont , USA
management Jostein Solheim ( CEO ), Michael Graning ( CFO ),

Bennett (Ben) Cohen (Co-Founder), Jerry Greenfield (Co-Founder)


Ben & Jerry’s is an American ice cream manufacturer whose products have also been available in Germany since 2002. After being sold in 2000, the company belongs to the British-Dutch Unilever group. The main operation is located in Waterbury in the US state of Vermont . The European range is produced in Hellendoorn in the Netherlands .

Company history

Company founders Ben Cohen (right) and Jerry Greenfield

In 1977, friends Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield took an ice cream correspondence course at Pennsylvania State University . Ben & Jerry's was founded in 1978 in Burlington , Vermont with equity of $ 8,000 and a small loan of $ 4,000. The first store was opened by the two in a converted gas station in Burlington.

In 1980 production was relocated to an old mill, where the ice cream was packaged for sale in ½ liter containers, known as pints , for the first time . The first franchise operation was opened in 1981 . Between 1982 and 1989 sales rose from under $ 1 million to over $ 58 million. To raise capital for the construction of an ice cream factory in Waterbury, they went public in 1984. Cohen's idea was to sell the shares only to Vermont residents to create local patriotism for their ice cream brand. In this way, the IPO was also not subject to the high costs and requirements of the Securities and Exchange Commission . In the same year and 1987, the competitor Häagen-Dazs tried to restrict the distribution of Ben & Jerry's, whereupon Cohen and Greenfield brought two lawsuits against the Häagen-Dazs parent company Pillsbury Company and won both cases. In 1988, the two received the US Small Business Persons of the Year award given by US President Ronald Reagan . In 1994 they exceeded Häagen-Dazs' sales. Since August 2000, Ben & Jerry's has been part of the Unilever group, which bought the company for about 326 million US dollars.


Cherry Garcia sundae with a typical wooden spatula
The Flavor Graveyard in Waterbury, Vermont

In Germany, the products are mainly available in packaged form in supermarkets, petrol stations and fast food restaurants . The cups are available in Europe with 500 ml content and as so-called shorties with 100 ml content. In addition, there are numerous shops, mostly in large cinemas, in which the products are also offered openly. These franchises are known as the "Scoop Shop" and are very common in the United States.


There are currently 53 flavors of ice cream in the USA and 17 types (as of June 2015) in Germany and Europe, with new types constantly being created and old ones being discontinued. The most popular varieties in Germany are Cookie Dough, Chocolate Fudge Brownie and Half Baked, when it was still available in stores, Cherry Garcia (named in honor of the Grateful Dead guitarist Jerry Garcia ) was also one of the favorites in Germany. The cherry variety is now only available in the "Scoop Shops", ie Ben - & - Jerry's ice cream parlors. In the UK, on ​​the other hand, phish food and in the Netherlands chunky monkey are the most common varieties. In addition to ice cream, the stores also have frozen yogurt (a type of frozen yogurt that's a popular dessert in the U.S.) and milkshakes . The ice cream range has been expanded to include Fairtrade products since 2005 . The company has also been offering four vegan varieties since 2016 .

Flavor Graveyard

For all the flavors that have been withdrawn from the market or did not enter production, are at work in Waterbury a Flavor Graveyard (about: Cemetery of flavors). It is an imitation of a real cemetery with gravestones for each “buried” variety. In the meantime, such a “cemetery” has also been set up in Clapham Common , a district of London .

social commitment

A Ben & Jerry's Scoop Shop

As early as 1985, Cohen and Greenfield were the first US companies to introduce maternity and paternity leave and training allowances for their employees, which they also extended to their unmarried and same-sex partners. Ben & Jerry's is also involved in a variety of ways in various social areas and projects. Examples of this are the “Ben & Jerry's Climate Change College” - an international climate protection program financed by the company that trains young people from different countries to become climate ambassadors. The idea goes back to the Dutch polar expert Marc Cornelissen . The international partner of the project is the WWF .

The Caring Dairy program, which advocates sustainable dairy farming, is also one of the company's projects, as is “Cool your jets”: Since 2005, all employees have been obliged to buy a “climate ticket” when booking a flight , forcing participation in a climate protection project in order to neutralize the carbon dioxide emissions caused by air travel. In spring 2007 the company announced that it would produce 100% climate-neutral in Europe.

Ben & Jerry's supports the Amadeu Antonio Foundation and works in cooperation with the International Rescue Committee for refugees and for Viva con Agua , an NGO for worldwide access to drinking water.

On August 11, 2020, in the wake of hundreds of migrants from non-EU countries landing on the English Channel coast, the Ben & Jerry's social media department in a series of tweets urged the British Interior Minister Priti Patel to bring more refugees into the country legally and called for more empathy for people who would flee war, climate change and torture. The group also used its British Twitter account to inform the Home Secretary about the interpretation of the 1951 Refugee Convention . A Home Office response said UK people were taking the concerns of the UK seriously, even if that meant offending social media folks for a “overpriced junk food” brand.

Free Cone Day

To celebrate the birthday of their first ice cream shop, Cohen and Greenfield introduced Free Cone Day in 1979 . Since then, the day has been celebrated annually in all Ben & Jerry's shops worldwide, and there is free ice cream on a Tuesday in April. At the same time, Ben & Jerry's is collecting donations for a local social institution.


After criticism from the American Center for Science in the Public Interest , the company announced in September 2010 that it would no longer use the slogan All natural Ben & Jerry's in the future. The consumer protection organization had presented this as misleading, as 48 of 53 types of ice cream contained artificial additives. In 2017, traces of the herbicide glyphosate were found in some ice cream samples that were below the applicable limit value.


  • Brad Edmondson: Ice Cream Social: The Struggle for the Soul of Ben & Jerry's , Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2014, ISBN 9781609948153

Individual evidence

  1. " Ben & Jerry's is making politics with new ice cream flavors " - Welt, June 29, 2012
  2. ^ Kateri M. Drexler: Icons of Business , Vol. 1, Greenwood Publishing Group, 2007, p. 79, ISBN 9780313338632
  3. Overview of all types of ice cream from Ben & Jerry’s
  4. The Top 10 Most Popular Strains of 2019. Accessed May 22, 2020 .
  5. Information ( memento of February 28, 2012 in the Internet Archive ) about the most popular ice cream in Germany
  7. ^ Kateri M. Drexler: Icons of Business: Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield Greenwood Publishing Group, 2007, p. 82
  11. Climate-neutral ice cream production ( Memento of the original from February 21, 2009 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.  @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  16. a b " a brand of overpriced junk food " in "Priti Patel: Home Secretary takes on Ben and Jerry's over migrant boats" of August 12, 2020
  17. "'Overpriced junk food': Ben and Jerry's and Priti Patel in strange war of words over treatment of migrants" of August 12, 2020
  19. " Ben & Jerry's has to do without advertising tricks " - Spiegel , Sept. 28, 2010
  20. "Ben and Jerry's": Glyphosate found in ice cream - FAZ from October 10, 2017

Web links

Commons : Ben & Jerry's  - collection of images