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B&J redirects here. For the beverage company see Bartles and Jaymes.
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Please help improve this article by adding reliable references. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (June 2007) Ben & Jerry's Type Subsidiary Founded 1978 Headquarters South Burlington, Vermont Key people Walt Freese[1] (CEO) Industry Retail Products Ice Cream Parent Unilever, PLC Website http://www.benjerry.com/

Ben & Jerry's is a brand of ice cream, frozen yogurt, sorbet, and ice cream novelty products, manufactured by Ben & Jerry's Homemade Holdings, Inc., headquartered in South Burlington, Vermont, United States, with the main factory in Waterbury. The company is now owned by the conglomerate Unilever.


[edit] History

Ben & Jerry's ice-cream branch at the United Square Shopping Mall, Singapore

In 1977 lifelong ex-hippie friends Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield completed a correspondence course on ice cream making from the Pennsylvania State University. On May 5, 1978, with a $12,000[citation needed] investment the pair opened an ice cream parlor in a renovated gas station in downtown Burlington, Vermont. In 1979, they marked their anniversary by holding the first-ever free cone day, now a nationwide annual celebration.

The founders were able to combine ice cream making with social activism by creating a three-part Mission Statement that considered profits as only one measure of success. By trisecting their measure of success into a Product Mission, an Economic Mission and a Social Mission, they were able to set themselves apart from similarly sized food companies, and generate national attention on their efforts.

Please help improve this article or section by expanding it. Further information might be found on the talk page. (June 2008)

In 1980 Ben and Jerry rented space in an old spool and bobbin mill on South Champlain Street in Burlington and began packing their ice cream in pints. In 1981, the first Ben & Jerry's franchise opened on Route 7 in Shelburne, Vermont. In 1983, Ben & Jerry's ice cream was used to build "the world's largest ice cream sundae" in St. Albans, Vermont; the sundae weighed 27,102 pounds. In 1984, Häagen-Dazs tried to limit distribution of Ben & Jerry's in Boston, prompting Ben & Jerry's to file suit against the parent company, Pillsbury, in its now famous "What's the Doughboy Afraid Of?" campaign. In 1987, Häagen-Dazs again tried to enforce exclusive distribution, and Ben & Jerry's filed its second lawsuit against the Pillsbury Company. In 1985, the Ben & Jerry's Foundation was established at the end of the year with a gift from Ben and Jerry to fund community-oriented projects; it was then provided with 7.5% of the company's annual pre-tax profits. In 1986, Ben & Jerry's launched its "Cowmobile," a modified mobile home used to distribute free scoops of Ben & Jerry's ice cream in a unique, cross-country "marketing drive" -- driven and served by Ben and Jerry themselves. The "Cowmobile" burned to the ground outside of Cleveland four months later, but there were no injuries. Ben said it looked like "the world's largest baked Alaska."[2] In 1988, the pair won the title of U.S Small Business Persons Of The Year, awarded to them by U.S. President Ronald Reagan. Also this year, the first brownies were ordered from Greyston Bakery, which led to the development of the popular Chocolate Fudge Brownie flavor.[3] In 1992, Ben & Jerry's joined in a co-operative campaign with the national non-profit Children's Defense Fund; the campaign goal was to bring children's basic needs to the top of the national agenda. Over 70,000 postcards were sent to Congress concerning kids and other national issues.

In April 2000, Ben & Jerry's announced its acquisition by multinational food giant Unilever.[4] Unilever said it hopes to carry on the tradition of engaging "in these critical, global economic and social missions."

In 2001, Ben & Jerry's U.S. completed transition to "Eco-Pint" packaging, which packaged all pint flavors in unbleached paperboard Eco-Pint containers. The use of brown-kraft unbleached paperboard was a critical first step toward a totally biodegradable pint made without added chlorine. However, due to what they described as increasing supply, quality, and cost challenges, Ben and Jerry's discontinued their use of the Eco-Pint in 2006, transitioning to a pint container made out of a bleached paperboard that they said was more readily available with superior forming characteristics. "Ben and Jerry's Social and Environmental Assessment 2006". http://www.benjerry.com/our_company/about_us...6_sear/sear06_6.3.1.cfm. 

On Earth Day in 2005, when a vote in the U.S. Senate proposed the opening of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling, Ben and Jerry's launched a protest by creating the largest ever Baked Alaska, which weighed 1,140 pounds, and placed it in front of the US Capital Building.[5] [6]

Although the founders are still engaged with the company, they do not hold any board or management position and are not involved in day-to-day management of the company.

[edit] Collaboration

Ben & Jerry's has collaborated with a large number of organizations, including many NGOs. Recently, the company has worked with the World Wildlife Fund and explorer Marc Cornelissen to open the Climate Change College. Its aims are to educate normal young people on what they believe are the science, the politics and the campaign strategies behind climate change so that they can then produce a successful campaign of their own. Students become ambassadors for preventing global warming and do their own research in the Arctic.[citation needed]

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