Ben & Jerry’s Dishes Out New Flavors: Non-GMO Game Changers

Finally, there is some news to beat the winter blues, but it won’t warm you up; Ben & Jerry’s has announced its new flavors for spring 2014. Grocery store freezer aisles will soon be filled with pints of Hazed & Confused, Peanut Butter Fudge, That’s My Jam, and Salted Caramel. Each pint costs $4.39, and is made with non-GMO sourced ingredients.

Eric Fredette led the team of flavor gurus who created the four new Core creations. The four announced today are based on the “Karamel Sutra” ice cream by Ben & Jerry’s. In the Core flavors, two ice creams form a sandwich in the pint around a central filling of flavor. Most of the middles are a variation of fudge, but in That’s My Jam, a seeded raspberry jam separates raspberry and chocolate ice creams. Other times, it provides a complimentary wallop of flavor to the pint, like in Salted Caramel. A sweet cream base, studded with blonde brownie bits surrounds a salted caramel center.

“We are always looking to make something bigger and better for our fans,” Fredette said in a press release. “We wanted to blow out the concept of fun flavors, chunks, and swirls and take it over the top.” But it isn’t all out with the old, in with the new. The release adds that in creating the flavors, the company wanted to take what Ben & Jerry’s is known for — chunks — but add more layers of texture and flavor.

The compartmentalized pints are, according to early taste testers, a way to put your spin on eating ice cream. “Tunnelers” are described by the company as people who immediately begin working away at just the core. Alternative options include going for bites that include a little bit of everything, eating just one flavor at at time, and saving the best (the core) for last.

But, it may be too cold to contemplate a core creation at the moment, and another aspect of these pints deserves attention. The Core line is the first by Ben & Jerry’s to be made entirely with non-GMO ingredients, and be 100 percent Fair Trade certified as well.

A report released by the United States Department of Agriculture on February 20 states that about half of all farm land in the U.S. was covered with genetically engineered (GE) crops in 2013 — about 169 million acres. Corn, cotton, and soybeans are the three crops that make up the bulk of GE crops, and as long as farmers see a benefit in growing GE food, they will continue to do so. The report did warn that insect resistance to the pesticides used is growing, and that consumers in the U.S. are pushing back against GE crops. Although this is more widespread in Europe, American consumers reported a willingness to pay a premium for products that did not contain GE ingredients.

At $4.39 per pint, the newest batch of Ben & Jerry’s flavors are in-line with what is already in stores, so sticker shock won’t occur when shelves are stocked with the non-GMO varieties in February. The only thing that remains to be seen is how people react to the ingredients. Only time will tell if other ice cream brands will bite on non-GMO sources for the same price as current cartons, and if consumers buy into this segmented ice cream revolution.

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