I have always been a fan of very rich ice cream hence Haagen Daz and Ben & Jerry’s. The latter always stood out to me because of their brightly coloured tubs with the ever so quirky names.
Last month I was invited to visit the factory for Ben & Jerry’s in Hellendoom, Holland where they produce ice cream for the whole of Europe. This is where they have launched a biodigester (AKA ‘The Chunkinator – a machine which powers the factory that runs off the waste products of ice cream. The waste syrup, bits of fruit, cream and milk are fed into a tank that then converts them into energy which provides 40% of the factory’s total energy.
Ben & Jerry’s is the first ice cream company in the world to power their factory this way. The biogas created by the biodigester is used in the factory’s GreEnergy project an innovative environmental approach to energy use which acts like a battery by insulating water at the correct temperatures for ice cream creation and dramatically reducing the need for natural gas to heat the plant. It has powered a massive 16 million pints of Ben & Jerry’s in the past year, from “Cookie Dough” to “Phish Food”. This practice really ties into Ben & Jerrys’ eco values which is to make the best ice cream in the best possible way while respecting the earth and environment.
We were given a tour of the factory where we got to see all the heavy machinery, equipment and meet all the staff. We also saw the ice cream in production from being mixed, poured into the large tubs and mini cups and sealed and packaged up for distribution. Afterwards we were served the ice cream fresh off the production line. I can assure you that it tasted delicious.
The next day we were taken to the Ronnie & Craig Farm which is a caring dairy that provides Ben & Jerry’s with quality milk. The caring dairy program was launched in 2003 to improve environmental, social and economic animal welfare performance for dairy farmers supplying Ben & Jerrys’s. As well as a tour of the farm and a gaze at many cows that lived at the farm we learnt all about how the cows are treated and everything is made to make sure that the cows are given the best quality life possible which ties into Ben & Jerry’s ethos and great quality ice cream.
I never took much notice of Ben & Jerry’s before but this visit has certainly made me sit up and take notice and it also made me aware of all the lovely flavours that they produce which I cannot wait to try out.
For more information about Ben & Jerry’s please visit their website.