I am currently enrolled in a certificate program in marketing which has me thinking about social responsibility and “going green.” It seems I am not the only dessert-craving fool pondering this subject, since my most popular blog entry thus far has been Larry David hates me. This entry discusses a serious moral conundrum: To sample (which utilizes single-serving spoons to aid the decision-making process) or not to sample (which produces less waste, but takes away from the customer’s experience).
There are many ethical considerations to ponder when purchasing ice cream, which companies are factoring into their product lines and marketing:
(1) Products can be certified as being Fair Trade. This year, Ben and Jerry’s expanded its line of Fair Trade ice cream flavors.
(2) Ben and Jerry’s is popular for its animal friendly decision to use products from cows that were not treated with a particular hormone that is often used. A pledge is made by farmers (milk suppliers) that their animals will not be treated with this hormone.
(3) Ben and Jerry’s boasts its use of non-bleached paper in their packaging.
(4) Haagen-Dazs is known for being “All Natural.” Not sure how this term is regulated.
(5) Ben and Jerry’s has a line of “Organic” ice creams. Products can be certified as being Organic.
(6) Many healthier options offered by multiple companies: low-fat, frozen yogurt, sugar free, etc.
(7) Countless local brands produce pints for grocery stores, which benefit of the local economy, rather than a large corporation. (I’m not suggesting all corporations are evil—many are wonderful!—but this is a factor to consider in a debate on ice cream ethics.)
It seems the major questions center around where the product comes from (farming and factory conditions) and how the product affects the user. In a perfect world, I think many people would like products that are concerned with both arguments, incorporating all of the above things. I doubt, however, that many would willingly pay the increased cost were cheaper options still available. (Notice none of these options even talk about the quality of the product.)
Which product would you choose if you had only the following criteria to make a purchase decision: a product that is in the best interest of you and other consumers or having a product that is friendlier on a global scale?