How Ben & Jerry’s Thrives in the Ice Cream Industry

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Aug. 20 (Bloomberg) -- Ben & Jerry’s CEO Jostein Solheim discusses the ice cream business and their history of unique flavors. He speaks with Alix Steel and Phil Mattingly on “Market Makers.” (Source: Bloomberg)

Against genetically modified ingredients.

Here to talk about politics and the business of ice cream is the ceo.

We are really excited.

We get to the ice cream.

On a more serious note, you have really been making this non-gm oh switch.

It looks like you are a year behind schedule, but you are almost there.

What was the hardest part?

The gm oh ingredients at ben & jerry's are a really small part of our overall product.

The trickiest part has been how to track it all the way back.

The bulk of our product was already non-gmo.

It was a question of finding those little pieces.

You have gotten some attention.

You have a parent company that does not necessarily agree with where dan and jerry's is.

Ben and jerry's is.

You were with the governor in vermont, signing a piece of legislation that was opposed by euna lever.

What is the balance between your parent company and you guys as a subsidiary?

Ben and jerry's is a very unique set up.

We do have our own board and we are a benefit corporation with its own set of policies on this.

When you are looking at the market response to the consumers' interest in non-gmo and right to know what is in their food, you are seeing a broad-based response from all companies.

Kellogg is converting.

Unilever is taking a brand-based approach.

The difference with been and jerry's, we don't want to just convert of -- of our own.

Everyone has a right to know what is in their food.

That should be labeled.

We take it to the next stage.

Across the food business now, you see a large response to people's general interest in knowing what is in their food.

Do people's general interest result in any type of the increase in the price they end up paying for the product?

It shouldn't. if you look at the ice cream business, the cost drivers we face, when dairy and the price of butter in chicago is trading at $2.60 -- that has an impact on the cost of ice cream.

That is one of the biggest drivers of our cost.

A lot of the non-gmo ingredients are of a smaller nature.

You can see maybe a percentage increase.

It is a parity of our business that is manageable.

I don't believe that all businesses and brands should convert to non-gmo ingredients.

It just labeled the products.

-- just label the products.

Ice cream is very competitive and real growth is hard to come by.

We just put up a chart of sales expectations through 2018. what is your key to compete?

Is it the flavors?

It is.

When you are looking at the total ice cream market in the u.s., year to date dollar sales is down .7%. packaged ice cream is slightly up and novelties down by 2%. that package increase is driven by super premiums.

We are seeing a trend here where people are not necessarily indulging as often, but when they do, they wanted to matter.

-- want it to matter.

We see the innovation, flavor excitement is really what drives market share and consumer interest.

Our fans went totally crazy when we launched our new [indiscernible] without really having started any marketing, totally trip and by the fan base sharing how excited they were about this.

We got into quite some trouble keeping up with production the first six months.

You guys put out a lot of flavors.

Not all of them hit.

How do you decide when it is time to kill something?

The way you kill is as important as the way you launch.

The flavors that make it to the flavor graveyard is really a way we celebrate also the things that did not work.

The key decisions instrument surely by sales and performance during -- perfroamcen -- performance.

For me, it's really important that we launch a lot of flavors, we have 200 to 300 flavor ideas all the time in testing.

When we kill them, we celebrate them.

What is your favorite flavor?

I am [indiscernible] classic salted caramel.

I love that.

Out of the classic range -- my first ben and jerry's ever was chunky monkey.

It is still special in my heart.

That is what phil is eating right now.

Thank you so much, jostein solheim, ceo of ben and jerry's. coming up, labor shortage in silicon valley.

This text has been automatically generated. It may not be 100% accurate.

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