Supermarkets Freeze Sales of Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream

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By Gabrielle Devenish, Christian Post Reporter
October 21, 2011|5:41 pm

Ben & Jerry’s new flavor of ice cream is getting a chilly response from retailers. Some supermarkets are now refusing to carry its latest spoon bender, “Schweddy Balls.”

The Vermont-based company, known for carrying ice cream flavors with unusual names released the product in September and has been met with broad criticism. The name is a reference to a Saturday Night Live skit featuring Alec Baldwin.

Suggestive names are nothing new for Ben & Jerry’s. Along with hippie-like names such as Cherry Garcia, Half Baked and Whirled Peace, the company offers flavors such as Karamel Sutra and What a Cluster as well. But the release of Schweddy Balls was the final impetus for One Million Moms to begin pressuring Ben & Jerry’s to discontinue the flavor, the Associated Press reported. In September, the conservative Christian group, an offshoot of the American Family Association, called on supporters to boycott the product.

"The vulgar new flavor has turned something as innocent as ice cream into something repulsive. Not exactly what you want a child asking for at the supermarket," the organization’s website states. “In the past, Ben & Jerry's has released controversial ice creams, like a special edition of Chubby Hubby called Hubby Hubby last year, which celebrated gay marriage. It seems that offending customers has become an annual tradition for Ben & Jerry's.”

But company spokesman Sean Greenwood said Schweddy Balls, a concoction of vanilla ice cream, a hint of rum and fudge covered rum balls, is the most popular limited-edition flavor that the company has produced.

Greenwood said about one-third of all supermarkets who regularly carry Ben & Jerry’s ice cream have decided to sell the new flavor – about the same as any other limited-edition flavor, he claimed.

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“We’ve heard from a lot of folks who are fans of the flavor,” Greenwood said, according to the AP.

Stores across the country are not carrying the product, but are vague on the reasons as to why, wire services have reported. Stop and Shop grocery stores in Massachusetts do not carry the flavor, the AP reported, Harmons grocery stores in St. George, Utah, do not either and searches at number of other local freezer sections were devoid of the flavor, despite the abundance of other Ben & Jerry’s products. Whether or not the companies’ decisions were influenced by the controversy was unclear.

“I would like it, and would like to buy it, but at the same time I do understand the stores’ position,” Paul De Los Santos, a St. George, Utah, resident, said to The Christian Post. “That being said, I think they’re missing out on a large portion of people who would buy such a popular product.”

But maybe Christians who agree with One Million Moms’ stance should head for the Popsicle section for their frozen fix.

Monica Cole, director of the organization, said to the AP, "We don't want the envelope to continue to be pushed. I realize it could be a lot worse, but are they going to progressively get worse if we don't say something? Maybe they'll think twice before they come up with another inappropriate name for ice cream."

 

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