Ben & Jerry’s Non-Dairy: Coconut Seven Layer Bar

overall rating:



Ayesha Sheikh
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Ingredients: Almond Milk (Water, Almonds), Liquid Sugar (Sugar, Water), Coconut Oil, Sugar, Corn Syrup, Walnuts, Corn Syrup Solids, Dried Cane Syrup, Coconut, Soybean Oil, Corn Starch, Cocoa, Wheat Flour, Graham Flour, Pea Protein, Sunflower Lecithin, Molasses, Malt Extract (Barley), Vanilla Extract, Guar Gum, Locust Bean Gum, Tapioca Starch, Caramel Color, Baking Soda, Carrageenan Certifications: Vegan, Kosher-DE, Non-GMO, Fairtrade, Responsibly Sourced Packaging

What it's made of:


This delicious vegan ice cream is mostly made of recognizable ingredients. After looking into some of the unfamiliar ingredients, the one most troubling to me was carrageenan, an additive extracted from red seaweed. Although it has been approved by the FDA, safety concerns remain, specifically inflammation, digestive problems, and colon cancer. The five ingredients of the ice cream that are fair trade certified are sugar, cocoa, vanilla, coffee and bananas. Unfortunately, they are not as transparent with the rest of their ingredients.

How it's made:


Beginning with the source, the almonds are locally and sustainably sourced. At the factories, they are processed into milk and meticulously blended with sugars and flavors, and eventually packaged and shipped out worldwide. The Life Cycle Analysis of each pint is about 2 ponds of CO2 emissions, equivalent to one car driving 2 miles. The bulk of these emissions (54%) come from growing and producing ingredients. The workers that make these products in Vermont are paid a livable wage, although they aren't specific about other workers outside of Vermont.

Who makes it:


Ben and Jerry began with a $5 class on ice cream-making and an investment in their first ice cream shop in Burlington, Vermont. They are well-known activists today, with pints labelled “Support Farm Aid,” donating to various non-profits, and promoting environmental action. They have been involved in various projects, such as partnering with Rock the Vote, protesting drilling in Alaska, and scooping ice cream for Occupiers in NY demanding equal pay and economic equality. Recently, they have been recognized for #BLM allies and for calling to dismantle white supremacy. They list all of the issues they care about on their website, including refugees, climate justice, and LGBT Equality. They are very transparent, but they do conduct business on illegal Israeli settlements. Although they downplay their involvement and include that they locally-source their almonds from a Palestinian farmer, they are still on the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign (BDS) list, that calls for the boycott of Ben and Jerry’s as they refuse to change their business practices. I believe that they are hypocrites in allying with Black Lives Matter and speaking out against white supremacy without acknowledging the violations of Palestinian human rights. This makes some of their activism feel performative to me.