Visiting the Ben&Jerry’s factory feels like a dream coming true. It is the ice cream that cheers me up every single time and surprises me with the chunks. There are two options for factory tours. Either you can go for the regular tour for 4$ (like I did) or the flavor fanatics tour for 175$. I was considering the flavor fanatics tour, because I do consider myself a fanatic. In the fanatics tour you get the opportunity to develop a new flavor in the flavor lab, you get a tie-dyed labcoat and some other amazing stuff. The price difference made me go for the regular tour.
The factory is well prepared for loads of tourists, the parking lot is huge and the entire factory front is made in the same style as the pints in the store. I arrived early, so it was just a short walk to the entrance. As you can see in the pictures the surroundings are made in style with the Ben&Jerry’s brand.
Inside is a beautiful gift shop with loads of t-shirts, bowls and fun stuff. I wanted to buy every single thing in there. Luckily I could restrain myself and I only bought a T-shirt.
The factory tour started with a short movie about the history of Ben and Jerry, it showed how they came up with the idea to put chunks in ice cream. I thought this was actually a funny story: One of them wasn’t able to taste very well, so in order to make ice cream enjoyable for him too they had to play around with their senses. With your mouth you can taste and feel whatever is in there. Combinations of textures can actually be enjoyable because the combination is surprising for your senses. Ben and Jerry used this knowledge when they decided to add chunks to the ice cream.
The movie continued with their goals for a better tomorrow, explaining what they have been doing and are doing to improve the world. Finally the movie ended with a heartbreaking plea to give money for a good cause to end world hunger. I technically know it I a good thing that they ask for attention and money to make the world a better place. I feel like they have a bit more power than for example me when I would say the same thing; just because they are famous and succesful. However (and I feel terrible for saying this, but I am still going to do so:) I wanted my visit to the factory to be a 100% happy experience and this was a bit of a downer.
The tour continued to a room with a view on the workplace of the factory. This special room is made in order to provide tours insight in the production and at the same time keep the food safety in mind. No chance for any contamination of the ice cream. I am happy to see that they value food safety in such a way and that they are able to provide for factory tours at the same time. Sadly it was not allowed to take pictures inside. This rule is put in place to keep the competitors from stealing their ideas and process.
A food factory in action is always peaceful for me to watch somehow. It made me happy to see all the pints being filled, closed and put into boxes. At the same time I did learn some cool new things on the process of making the pints and the tour guide was happy to answer all our questions. I asked how they get the core in the Ben&Jerry’s core ice cream and surprisingly enough they use a sausage machine.
The tour finished with a scoop of ice cream and insight in the place where the flavors used to be developed.
The tour is quite short, only half an hour. So I would recommend to think about questions you might have upfront, then you’re ready to ask them in the tour. I visited the flavor graveyard with all the flavors that don’t exist anymore after the tour. I really wish I would’ve been able to try some of them.
Have you been to the Ben&Jerry’s factory? If so, what was your experience with the tour and everything around it?