Ben & Jerry’s Is Going Non-GMO


Ice cream man­u­fac­turer Ben & Jerry’s has com­mit­ted to switch­ing to all non-GMO ingre­di­ents in its ice cream prod­ucts by the end of this year.

Several fac­tors spurred Ben & Jerry’s to go non-GMO, says Rob Michalak, the company’s global direc­tor of social mis­sion. First is a com­mit­ment to trans­parency and con­sumers’ right to know.

“We’ve had his­tor­i­cal sup­port for a consumer’s right to know,” Michalak says. “With GMO label­ing leg­is­la­tion being con­sid­ered in many states, our home state of Vermont included, we thought this was a time to speak out.”

Ben & Jerry’s has long been known for its sup­port of envi­ron­men­tal issues, sus­tain­abil­ity, and social jus­tice since its found­ing in 1978 by counter cul­ture heroes Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield.

In 1993, the com­pany led the fight for the right to label its prod­ucts rBGH-free, and more recently has pub­licly opposed cloned and GMO ani­mals, such as salmon.

Aim to sup­port con­ven­tional non-GMO food production

Supporting non-GMO food pro­duc­tion was another decid­ing fac­tor. Michalak sees Ben & Jerry’s in a unique position—between organic and GMO production—where it can stim­u­late non-GMO demand.

“One of the roles we see our com­pany play­ing is in the con­ven­tional agri­cul­ture mar­ket­place,” he says. “We want to play a role in increas­ing demand for con­ven­tional non-GMO ingre­di­ents and non-GMO foods and to help cre­ate a robust non-GMO agri­cul­ture sector.”

Sourcing non-GMO ingre­di­ents has always been a goal of Ben & Jerry’s, says Michalak.

Then with grow­ing con­sumer aware­ness of GMOs and the demand for label­ing, par­tic­u­larly as a result of California’s Proposition 37, Ben & Jerry’s decided to make the com­plete con­ver­sion to non-GMO.

“The whole con­sumer right to know issue increased our momen­tum. We thought it was impor­tant to become non-GMO by ori­gin and let peo­ple know that,” Michalak says.

Source: Organic Connections