The manufacturers of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream had to figure out what to do with over 2,000 gallons of daily ice cream waste. Flushing it down the drain was undesirable for a bunch of reasons, but the stuff had to go somewhere. The company was in hog heaven when a pig farmer offered to take the waste off its hands.
It’s hard to imagine such a thing as “waste ice cream” but every manufacturing process has some level of inefficiency. For Ben & Jerry’s, that waste product threatened to exceed the capacity of municipal sewage treatment facilities. Additionally, the souring dairy products left a decidedly-unappetizing aroma for neighbors.
Fortunately, there is one place where bad smells are not an obstacle and where just about any food product is welcome. No, we’re not talking about high school cafeterias; the answer lies in pig farms.
In 1987, company owners Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield signed a contract with pig farmer Earl Mayo, Jr. to supply his piglets with as much of the discarded ice cream product as their little bellies can take. Each day, hundreds of pigs feast upon Cherry Garcia, Half-Baked, Tonight Dough, and the many varieties that come from the production plant.
There is one flavor the pigs fail to go hog wild over: Mint Chocolate Cookie. Evidently, the mint flavoring is not up to par for the pigs’ refined palates, and they turn their snouts up at it. Aside from that, they are happy to dive in and — well — make pigs of themselves.
A curious footnote to this
curly tail tale. Under the terms of the contract, at least one pig must be named Ben, a second named Jerry, and a third named Ed Stanak. Stanak is the district coordinator for Act 250, the state’s land use and development law, with whom Ben & Jerry’s has worked for over seven months to find a solution to their waste dilemma.
Read more fun facts about ice cream.
Read more fun facts about pigs.