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Those Ben & Jerry's geezers are warming up their freezers
Parent company experiments to see if ice cream needs to be kept so cold.
(A native of England, Matthew Diebel is a veteran journalist who has worked at NBC News, Time, USA Today and News Corp., among other organizations. Having spent his childhood next to one of the world's fastest bodies of water, he is particularly interested in tidal energy.)
Chunky Monkey. Cherry Garcia. Chocolate Therapy. Chubby Hubby. New York Super Fudge Chunk. Phish Food. The flavors of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream are delicious and myriad.
And soon they may be less cold.
Yes, the Vermont-founded sweet-treat company, now owned by British food, beauty and cleaning conglomerate Unilever (UL), is testing whether it can turn up the temperature of its freezers so that it can reduce greenhouse gases while maintaining the quality of its product. The same will apply to its Magnum and Wall’s ice cream brands, which, along with Ben & Jerry’s, are two of the top sellers in the U.K.
The pair of pilots, which will take place in Germany and Indonesia, according to a company press release, will look at whether the industry-standard freezer temperature of -18°C. (0°F.) can be replaced by -12°C. (10°F.). The move could cut energy use and greenhouse gas emissions by about 20% to 30% a unit, the company predicted.
Meanwhile, the company hopes that, if successful, the initiative will grow. “We’re actively seeking to collaborate with partners from across the ice cream and frozen food sectors to drive industry-wide change, so the collective positive impact is far greater,” said Matt Close, president for ice cream at Unilever, in the statement. (President Ice Cream — now, that’s a title. Maybe he’ll run in 2024.)
If the trial is successful, the company, which reports that freezer use makes up about 10% of its “value chain greenhouse gas footprint,” says it will use a “phased approach” to begin warming up its freezers, starting in markets where its “last mile freezer cabinet carbon footprint is highest” (which means warmer countries).
Another possible benefit: You may no longer have to put that tub of Chocolate Therapy in the microwave for 10 seconds to make it scoopable. Think of the energy saved!