The new ice cream is Ben & Jerry’s first new flavor associated with a politically-minded campaign. All photos courtesy of Ben & Jerry’s.
The swiftest way to someone’s heart? Ben & Jerry’s is banking that it’s through the taste buds. On Wednesday it unveiled Save Our Swirled, a flavor inspired by the Vermont-based company’s campaign to raise awareness about climate change’s impact on Earth.
On every carton of the flavor — raspberry ice cream streaked with marshmallow and raspberry swirls and chunks of dark and white fudge ice cream cone — is a link to sign a petition calling on world leaders to work toward 100 percent clean energy by 2050, beginning at the United Nations climate summit in Paris this December.
This isn’t the first time Ben & Jerry’s has dipped its toes in political waters. The brand famously came out in favor of U.S. gay marriage in 2009, temporarily rebranding its iconic Chubby Hubby flavor as “Hubby Hubby.” And in 2012, U.K. shops renamed its Apple Pie flavor “Apple-y Ever After” to raise awareness about the importance of marriage equality. Ben & Jerry founders, Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield even helped launch Bernie Sanders’ presidential bid on Tuesday.
But Save Our Swirled marks the first time the ice cream giant has released an entirely new flavor as part of an ongoing global campaign. The flavor, now in U.S. stores and scoop shops, will hit Europe in September and be rolled out to Asia by the end of 2015.
Ben & Jerry’s modified Tesla car.
As to the significance of Save Our Swirled’s flavor profile? According to Ben & Jerry’s social mission activism manager Christopher Miller, there isn’t any — it just tastes good. But climate change could profoundly affect some of its main ingredients, such as vanilla sourced from Madagascar and cocoa from Uganda.
“We work with specific small co-ops in Uganda and Madagascar, and if the climate changes, that may make growing vanilla and cocoa really hard,” Miller said. “We’re interested in the plight of our suppliers and the people we work with.”
To promote the climate change campaign, Ben & Jerry’s has enlisted the help of Tesla: Together, they may have created the most eco-friendly ice cream truck (er, car) ever. The revamped 100-percent electric Tesla Model S can fit more than 1,000 scoops worth of ice cream and features a “Climate Action” station in the front trunk where ice cream aficionados can sign a climate change petition with Ben & Jerry’s nonprofit partner, Avaaz.
Miller doesn’t think Ben & Jerry’s will have any trouble rallying people to their cause. “My background is in issue advocacy — I worked for Greenpeace, and I’ve spent most of my career trying to engage people on issues,” he said. “But people just respond to Ben & Jerry’s in a way that they don’t for other products. There’s something magic about ice cream.”
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