Unilever U.S. has committed to sourcing milk and cream from cows not treated with artificial growth hormones for all of its ice cream brands, beginning with Breyers.
Breyers is now the largest packaged U.S. ice cream brand with such a distinction, according to the company. Breyers also has launched a new initiative with the Rainforest Alliance to use only vanilla from sustainably farmed vanilla beans from Madagascar.
Breyers offers more than 50 varieties of ice cream, including coffee, mint chocolate chip and strawberry. One variety, Natural Vanilla, contains only five ingredients, including cream, sugar and milk.
“Breyers has a longstanding history of offering frozen treats with high-quality ingredients that moms feel good about,” said Alessandra Bellini, vice-president of brand development at Unilever North America. “These industry-leading changes are the latest in our commitment to do right by parents and the environment.”
Unilever said it plans to transition its entire ice cream portfolio, which includes Fruttare, Good Humor, Klondike, Magnum and Popsicle brands, to sourcing milk and cream from cows not treated with artificial growth hormones in 2015. The company noted, however, that suppliers of such ingredients as cookies and sauces included in ice cream products may not be able to make such as pledge.
Last year, the company’s Ben & Jerry’s brand relaunched its full line of flavors sold in the United States without bioengineered ingredients. The brand also revealed plans to transition to fair trade certified ingredients, specifically vanilla, sugar and cocoa, to support farmers in developing countries.
Unilever also is undertaking an effort to transform its spreads business in North America. The focus of the effort is on a simple label that highlights such ingredients as plant-based oils, water and salt. Launched last November, the new I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter! line includes three varieties — original, light and olive oil — and is the first spread product in the United States to be made with non-bioengineered ingredients, according to the company. Unilever said it plans to launch similar efforts for its Country Crock, Brummel & Brown and Imperial brands in 2015.