Bees are critical to one-third of the world’s crops, including ingredients that are used in more than one-third of Häagen-Dazs ice cream flavors. However, their numbers continue to dwindle — an estimated one-third of honey bee colonies were lost between April 2016 and March 2017, Häagen-Dazs said.
In 2018, the brand, part of Nestlé USA, is celebrating 10 years of “passionate support for these extraordinary pollinators” to ensure they continue to thrive.
“There are three important ways we can help bees and other pollinators: bring them flowers, protect their homes and spread the word,” said Elizabell Marquez, director of the Häagen-Dazs brand. “Over the past 10 years, Häagen-Dazs has taken strides to support each of these key components, from donating more than $1 million to research and education to proactively working hand-in-hand with our suppliers to grow ingredients in bee-friendly environments. We are proud to continue this journey with a number of new sustainability focused initiatives that will help the bees.”
Häagen-Dazs said it is committed to helping bees through:
- Introduction of a new ice cream flavor dedicated to them. The honey salted caramel almond flavor is a blend of honey ice cream, swirls of salted caramel and crunchy toasted almonds that was crafted to raise awareness for honey bees. It is now available nationwide, the brand said.
- The launch of a virtual reality experience. “The Extraordinary Honey Bee” is an award-winning virtual reality experience that shrinks viewers down to the size of a honey bee, allowing them to see the world from a bee’s perspective, learn about the alarming decline and find out how they can help save the bees, Häagen-Dazs said.
- Supply chain innovations. In 2017, the brand worked with longtime partner, the Xerces Society, to plant one of the largest privately funded pollinator habitats in the country, providing a year-round habitat for native bee populations on the farm of one of its almond suppliers. To supply what pollinators need, Häagen-Dazs said it also worked with expert agronomists to maximize the impact of the habitat by choosing regional plants that are attractive to pollinators. The brand’s second pollinator habitat is being planted on the farm of one of its strawberry suppliers in Oregon, showcasing Häagen-Dazs’ mission for continuous supply chain improvements.
- Adoption of “Bee Better Certified.” Häagen-Dazs said it is actively working with supplier farms and the Xerces Society to adopt Bee Better Certification, a robust third-party-verified standard that requires the elimination of harmful pesticide practices and the creation of large pollinator habitat areas on farms. Once certified, key ingredients will be noted on carton with the Bee Better Certified seal. Bee Better Certified brings a science-based conservation to the marketplace, ensuring consumers are supporting farms that truly support bees. The certification program is overseen by Oregon Tilth, one of the largest organic farm certifiers in the United States.
“For those who want to help, it’s as easy as planting a seed. With spring just underway, there is no better time to plant wildflowers native to your region and create more bee-friendly habitats throughout the country,” Marquez added.