Sweet, creamy, and cold, ice cream is the ultimate summer treat. But many traditional ice cream brands use artificial colors and flavors in their ice cream, and source ingredients like milk, sugar, and cocoa from environments that are being exploited for their resources. Because ingredients like cocoa can come from delicate rainforest ecosystems, it's important to ensure that the ice cream on your cone was created using sustainable practices.
Knowing where ingredients come from, and how food is produced, can also be reassuring to customers when they search for products for themselves or their families. For example, milk and cream can sometimes be made with harsh chemicals and antibiotics, something that many consumers are wary of. But how can you be certain that your creamy confection was made with minimal environmental impact, or that you're comfortable with the ingredients you're putting into your body? Try these five ice cream brands, located across the United States, who create their ice cream using sustainable, eco-friendly practices.
1. Ample Hills Creamery
Ample Hills Creamery operates several ice cream shops across New York City, but this small brand's ice cream is also available online for anyone to enjoy. Their ice cream is made with sustainably-produced, hormone-free milk and organic cane sugar. Unique and playful flavors such as "ooey gooey butter cake" and "snap mallow pop" make Ample Hills a stand out among sustainable brands, plus the fact that they create all of their mix-ins themselves, from the brownies to the peppermint patties. Literally, everything in the ice cream is made by Ample Hills.
Grab a pint of your own here.
2. Mackie's of Scotland
Planning a trip across the pond? If so, be sure to stop into one of the many stores in England, Southern Ireland, or Scotland that sell Mackie's ice cream. Their commitment to sustainable production is such that every tub of ice cream they produce is made with renewable energy; wind energy, to be exact. In 2007, Mackie's had two wind turbines installed at the farm where their ice cream is produced.
According to Maitland "Mac" Mackie, managing director of Mackie's, the move to renewable energy made "good sense for our business because our consumers have told us that it is important for them to know that their favorite ice-cream is made with 100 per cent renewable energy." Mackie's ice cream comes in classic flavors, such a chocolate, vanilla bean and strawberry, as well as some unusual combinations, such as white chocolate/coconut.
Read more about everything Mackie's has to offer here.
3. Tara's Organic Ice Cream
Tara's Organic Ice cream services just what you'd expect: ice cream that has been certified organic! That means that all the ice cream's ingredients, from the cream to the mix ins, are all-natural, and have been made using sustainable practices. This means that a scoop of Tara's mint chocolate chip, for example, was made with mint plants grown without the use of harmful pesticides. No synthetic chemicals here.
Tara's has several storefront locations in California, but their ice cream is also available online. Order some for yourself here.
4. Ben & Jerry's
One of the best-known ice cream brands ever, Ben & Jerry's uses several Fair Trade ingredients in their ice creams. This means that the workers who harvest the sugar, cocoa, bananas, vanilla and coffee that go into Ben & Jerry's ice cream are paid a living wage. Fair Trade products are also required to be produced via sustainable methods that won't do lasting harm to the environment. Ben & Jerry's also recently released a line of dairy-free, vegan ice cream flavors.
Learn more about Ben & Jerry's Fair Trade commitment here, and pick up a pint of their ice cream at your local grocery store.
5. Alden's Ice Cream
All of Alden's ice cream is certified organic, and made without any grown hormones, antibiotics, artificial colors, or flavors. The company is committed to supporting local farms in its native Oregon, which is why they source all of their milk and cream from such farms. Altogether, Alden's sources from 30 farms, each one of them operating within USDA National Organic Program regulations.
Alden's ice cream is sold in supermarkets across the U.S. Read more about Alden's commitment to sustainable ice cream production here, and check the ice cream section of your local supermarket for a pint of your own!
More from Green Matters