Few can resist a good pint—or more—of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream.
With so many different flavors from which to choose, you’re never without options.
The price of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream, however, may encourage some buyers to choose local pints of ice cream instead.
The average price of a pint of Ben and Jerry’s is just under $5.
Compared to store brand ice cream (which runs for $3.49 a pint at Target), it’s clear that Ben and Jerry’s is more expensive.
You may wonder what makes Ben and Jerry’s so different that allows them to sell at a higher price.
Here are 10 reasons Ben and Jerry’s ice cream is so expensive.
Why Is Ben And Jerry’s So Expensive? (Top 10 Reasons)
1. Fair Trade
Ben and Jerry’s operates on the fair trade philosophy.
They recognize that corporations tend to source ingredients from farms that push small and local farmers out of the business.
Instead of working with local farmers, they make deals with corporate farmers who can sell products at prices that small farmers can’t match.
Not if they want to make a living, anyway.
Ben and Jerry’s made the ethical decision in terms of doing business, and the company supports small and local farmers.
They buy ingredients from these farmers and request that the farmers, in return, use green technology and sustainable sourcing.
The farmers must also support their local community when they can.
Ben and Jerry’s strongly believes in buying ingredients at fair prices instead of supporting cheap labor that hurts local economies.
This means that it’s costlier to produce their ice cream.
Since they pay more for their ingredients, they have to cover that cost with higher prices on their products.
When people buy Ben and Jerry’s products, they’re also supporting several farmers throughout the country who rely on the company to buy their ingredients.
This helps stimulate local economies.
2. Butterfat Amount
Another big factor that makes Ben and Jerry’s ice cream more expensive is the amount of butterfat in their ice cream.
To make ice cream, you need a few ingredients.
Butterfat is the chief among them.
It’s also one of the costlier ingredients.
Ben and Jerry’s use 15% butterfat in their recipe for their ice cream.
Butterfat is expensive because it comes from a cow.
Its real name is milk fat.
It’s the fatty part that one finds in a cow’s milk.
It’s separated then processed to make butter or milk fat.
The amount that each cow gives varies.
Some may give a lot of milk fat during one milking process whereas they might give a small amount the next time they’re milked.
Because a farmer never knows, they may have to sell lower amounts at a higher price to make up for the difference.
Processing butterfat is another expense that Ben and Jerry’s takes on.
They have to source enough of it to come out with the final product that they need.
Then they need to carefully measure how much butterfat is going into each tank of ice cream.
The entire process is costly, and since Ben and Jerry’s uses more butterfat than other brands of ice cream, it’s more expensive for them to make ice cream.
This results in a higher price since they need to make up for the cost of production and sourcing.
3. Less Air
It may surprise you to know but air is a large part of the ice-cream-making process.
Without air, ice cream is more like a popsicle.
It’s hard and not creamy at all.
To give it that fluffy and creamy texture, manufacturers pump air into the recipe.
Since air is free, many ice cream makers who sell their products for less tend to use a lot of it.
That’s why cheaper ice cream is often fluffier.
Premium ice cream makers, like Ben and Jerry’s, don’t use as much air.
They use a lot of butterfat instead.
The result is a denser, creamier type of ice cream.
It separates them from cheaper ice cream companies and makes their recipe more similar to gelato.
When it comes to making ice cream, Ben and Jerry’s doesn’t take the easy or cheap way out of ice cream production.
The process of pumping air into ice cream isn’t that easy either.
They need sophisticated equipment to ensure only a certain amount of air goes into their ice cream tanks at any time.
It requires monitoring and quality assurance checks.
This brings in extra costs to ensure their ice cream is creamy rather than fluffy.
That added cost also adds to the price of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream.
Despite the higher cost, you can tell the difference between a creamy ice cream like Ben and Jerry’s and a cheaper ice cream with a fluffier texture.
How far you are from the nearest Ben and Jerry’s distributor also affects its price.
Ice cream isn’t easy to ship.
An increase in temperature can completely ruin the product.
If the ice cream melts, then it can make the container lose its rigidity.
Ben and Jerry’s tries to use recyclable products when they can.
That means using recyclable cardboard for their containers.
The problem with cardboard is that if it’s exposed to moisture, it starts to degrade.
It’s designed that way to break down safely in the environment.
If ice cream becomes too warm, it starts to melt and become a liquid.
The liquid then degrades the cardboard and causes it to leak.
The result is a messy and expensive waste of ice cream.
To avoid that, Ben and Jerry’s uses expensive climate-controlled storage containers.
These containers maintain a certain temperature and keep the ice cream frozen during their journey to local supermarkets.
The problem is that it costs extra fuel and money to power these storage containers.
The further a truck has to go to reach store shelves or ice cream shops, the costlier it is to ship.
A store that is far from a distributor will need to pay extra to cover these shipping costs.
To make up for the cost, they’ll need to mark the ice cream at a higher price point.
They have to earn a profit, too.
Those who live closer to a distribution point will notice that their Ben and Jerry’s is a bit cheaper than those further away.
People who live in different countries will have to pay significantly higher prices for their Ben and Jerry’s ice cream.
That’s because it’s even costlier to ship ice cream overseas.
They need reliable storage and temperature control for several days.
The crew exporting the ice cream also needs payment.
Since Ben and Jerry’s applies their fair-trade philosophy to every aspect of their business, they also pay the logistics portion of their company at a fair price.
Those in other countries will face very expensive prices for their imported Ben and Jerry’s ice cream.
5. Premium Ingredients
Another aspect that sets Ben and Jerry’s apart from others is that they focus on premium ingredients.
They put a lot of effort into researching the small farmers that they do business with.
Those farmers need to use humane and sustainable methods in caring for their livestock.
They also need to provide high-quality ingredients.
It takes a lot of costs to keep cows healthy.
They need a robust diet, plenty of room to graze, and several health checks to ensure they’re fit.
That costs a lot of money, especially for smaller farmers who may only have a few cows at a time.
Ben and Jerry’s must pay for the milk and milkfat at premium prices.
Premium ingredients taste better than cheaper ingredients because they’re more potent in flavor and texture.
You can tell the difference between an ice cream made with premium ingredients and one made with cheap ingredients.
It’s why Ben and Jerry’s sells as well as it does.
Their flavor, creaminess, and consistency are what make their fans keep coming back for more.
However, because it costs farmers a lot of money to keep their cows healthy and produce high-quality ingredients, they also sell at high prices.
Ben and Jerry’s pays the price and makes up for the cost to earn revenue by increasing the price of their ice cream.
6. Research And Development
One of the running jokes of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream is that they have a flavor for everything.
Some of their flavors are jokes while others have gone on to become ice cream staples.
The process of researching different flavors and then developing them, however, is a costly one.
It’s why some ice cream manufacturers stick with the flavors that sell the best.
Chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry are the most popular flavors of ice cream.
There may be different variations of these, but it always comes back to those three basic flavors for many cheap ice cream makers.
That’s because they know people want those flavors, and it’s easy to source and make those flavors.
Ben and Jerry’s loves pushing the bar on flavors for ice creams.
You’ll find everything from bacon-flavored ice cream to banana whiskey ice cream.
Despite being whacky, the company goes all-in when releasing a new flavor.
They put a lot of effort into discovering the ingredients they need to produce certain flavors in their ice cream.
They always make sure they get the best ingredients to do so and pay their sources fairly.
Once they have the ingredient, then they need to process and develop it.
That also costs money.
It may not even work.
Either the ice cream itself may not meet their standards or the public might dislike it.
It’s always a gamble.
If the gamble doesn’t work out, then they lose a lot of money on the investment.
New flavors tend to be a little higher in price than older flavors because the company has to make up for the cost it took to research and develop the new flavor.
If the gamble does fail, then the hope is that enough people tried it to earn back the money they put into developing it.
Since Ben and Jerry’s is always trying to introduce new flavors, their research and development team always needs funds.
To give them the funds they need, they place high prices on their existing flavors.
Ben and Jerry’s is expensive because they want to keep introducing new flavors to the world.
A major expense for any business is its marketing.
Ben and Jerry’s put a lot of effort into their marketing.
They like to focus on their fair trade dealing and their effort to stay green.
They also host an annual film festival at their original ice cream shop.
During that film festival, they give out free ice cream.
They’ve also worked with celebrities in the past to target certain audiences.
By working with some celebrities, they’ve even named some ice cream flavors after them.
Willie Nelson’s Country Peach and Goodbye Yellow Brickle Road of Elton John are two examples.
To get celebrities involved in their business, they usually have to pay a good amount of money for the sponsorship.
However, fans of that celebrity are likely to try the ice cream named after them.
New flavors are a marketing frenzy of their own.
Since Ben and Jerry’s has a passionate following, there’s a lot of excitement and buzz about any new flavor that they release.
They might encourage the frenzy with some unique marketing strategy.
Marketing is always expensive.
To give their marketing team the funds they need, they have to keep their prices high.
This allows them to further sponsor new celebrities with a far reach.
8. Sustainable Practices
Ben and Jerry’s puts a lot of effort into using sustainable sourcing and production protocols.
They’re very eco-conscious and want to ensure they’re doing their part to have a small carbon footprint.
Since they use cows, which have a high likelihood of releasing greenhouse gases, they encourage their farmers to also use sustainable farming methods.
These efforts don’t come cheap.
It often means that they need to carry extra costs to stay green.
The cheaper way is the easier and faster way.
Since being eco-friendly is longer and more expensive, it costs them a lot of money.
It also puts them in a good light with their consumers who are becoming more worried about the state of the environment.
These consumers are more likely to support a company that takes its impact on the climate seriously.
Because of that, they’re willing to buy Ben and Jerry’s ice cream even at higher prices.
Size also plays a huge factor in the price of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream.
Larger containers of ice cream need more ingredients and materials.
The more butterfat and other ingredients that they use, the higher the cost of production.
That means it needs a higher price tag to cover those costs.
Smaller ice cream sizes, however, are a little cheaper.
They need fewer ingredients and materials to make them.
The larger size of Ben and Jerry’s that you buy, the higher the price tag.
10. Non-GMO Ice Cream
Ben and Jerry’s has switched to using non-GMO ingredients in their ice cream.
This also makes their ice cream more expensive.
Using GMO ingredients gives a few cost-effective benefits.
By modifying something to produce more than it would, a supplier can sell more of that product at a cheap price.
Since there’s a lot of controversy over GMO and GMO products, Ben and Jerry’s decided to avoid the issue altogether.
They only source their ingredients from farmers that don’t use GMO products or ingredients.
That means everything from the cows themselves to the grass and feed that they consume.
Since it’s more expensive for farmers to do this, the price of their products is also more expensive.
It costs Ben and Jerry’s more money to use non-GMO ingredients than GMO ingredients.
To cover the cost, they increased the price of their products.
Now their consumers can enjoy their ice cream without worrying about whether it’s GMO or not.
How To Save Money On Ben And Jerry’s Ice Cream
Since Ben and Jerry’s ice cream is of premium quality, it can be difficult to get it at a lower price.
However, there are a few ways you can get the ice cream cheaper than normal.
Here are a few tips to save money on Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream.
1. Store Sales
When stores need to free up some inventory space, they often run sales.
They sometimes include Ben and Jerry’s ice cream in that sale.
It’s a good idea to know when your local store receives its usual shipments.
They’ll usually run a sale the day before or the day of to clear up space for the new products.
That’s the best time to look at the ice cream section and check and see if Ben and Jerry’s has a discounted price.
2. Online Coupons
You can also find several coupons online for Ben and Jerry’s ice cream.
You may have to shop at a specific store or buy a certain amount of ice cream, but it will save you money.
If you’re desperate for some ice cream but don’t want to pay full price, then coupons are the way to go.
3. Sponsored Events
It’s a good idea to pay attention to any events that Ben and Jerry’s may be sponsoring near you.
If they are, then there’s a good chance that they’re going to be giving ice cream away for free or at cheaper prices.
It may be worth attending the event and supporting it to earn yourself some free ice cream.
Ben and Jerry’s has a reputation for being a premium ice cream maker.
By focusing on quality ingredients and using a fair-trade approach to their partnerships, they take on a lot of cost for their production processes.
That results in a higher price.
However, thanks to store discounts and coupons, it’s possible to save money and enjoy a delicious pint of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream.