All over the world, bowls, spoons and cones are at the ready, awaiting the arrival of a historic moment: the release of a non-dairy ice cream by Ben & Jerry’s.
While the company confirmed earlier this year that it’s working on a vegan product, there is no timeline for release … yet.
(A story out of the UK reported spring 2016 as a launch date, but that was jumping the gun, according to B&J.)
We reached out to the folks at Ben & Jerry’s, and here’s what they told us about the situation: “Give us a little time to have our Flavor Gurus work their magic. We are looking at 2016, exact timing still tbd.”
We got more scoop from Michael Webermann, Executive Director of FARM (Farm Animal Rights Movement).
Webermann has been in close touch with Ben & Jerry’s for awhile, given that FARM is actively campaigning for the Vermont-based company to create a vegan flavor.
He spoke to a consumer services rep at the company today. “She actually actively told me that they’re not committing to this date [Spring 2016] yet,” Webermann told Latest Vegan News.
Ben & Jerry’s still has many phases ahead for a new product including consumer testing, etc., so it apparently can’t guarantee a release date until closer to completion.
According to FARM, if Ben & Jerry’s shifts even five percent of its production to dairy-free products, it would save 2,000 cows and calves per year, plus 298,503,000 gallons of water (enough to supply the state of Vermont for a week). “We’ve been letting them know how much good they could do for the environment by switching even a portion to dairy-free,” says Webermann.
Based on its extensive college outreach, FARM has learned how important it is that college students have vegan options available from major chains and brands.
“Specifically, our college students have identified dairy pizza and ice cream as items that hold them up from going vegan. The problem is not just that they eat pizza and ice cream … the problem is that if they’re not owning that vegan identity, they’re actually sometimes falling back on other products that kill even more animals, such as chicken meat and eggs.”
In other words, the more vegan pizza and ice cream available, the more likely a lot of students are to go vegan. Ben & Jerry’s can (and will) make a major difference with a non-dairy option.
“It’s in the interest of people who like an alternative, it’s in the interest of Ben & Jerry’s bottom line, it’s in the interest of the animals, it’s in the interest of the environment–it’s literally in all of our interests.”
“I’m very confident we’re going to win it, it’s just a matter of how soon,” Webermann adds. Because B&J hasn’t made a date commitment yet, however, it’s important that vegans keep speaking up and asking for it.
To sign the petition and add your voice to the clamor, visit DemandDairyFree.com.