BURLINGTON, Vt.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Ben & Jerry's, known for its fun and funky flavors, is proud to announce the U.S. winner of its 2009 global Do the World a Flavor contest. Toni Gunnison, from Mount Horeb, Wisconsin, submitted the combination of caramel ice cream with almonds and a caramel swirl during the ninety-day online search for the company's newest Fair Trade flavor.
"I think it's pretty amazing that my flavor got picked. I'm kind of shocked," said Gunnison who will join flavor finalists from 15 countries in total. The November trip to the Dominican Republic will culminate with the announcement of the global flavor winner. The group will visit Conacado, a Fair Trade cocoa cooperative in Hato Mayor (about two hours from Santo Domingo) and spend the week with company founders Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield. The global flavor finalists will also create their suggested flavors under the watchful eyes of Ben & Jerry's research and development Flavor Gurus.
Two of Ben & Jerry's top Flavor Gurus kicked off the contest in March with a global search of tastes and ingredients from all different longitudes and latitudes. "We tried exotic combinations such as kumquat and scotch, an elderberry flavor, and even an oak bark attempt, which tasted a little like birch beer, maple syrup and cereal - in a good way," said Arnold Carbone, Ben & Jerry's chief flavor developer, who was along for the trip. The more challenging ingredients included candied scorpion and tarantula, as well as fermented fish. "The fish ice cream was truly disgusting," said companion guru, Peter Lind. "If you were a penguin it might be delightful."
The Flavor Gurus looked forward to reviewing the flavors suggested online from enthusiastic fans via the Do the World a Flavor contest. "With legendary flavors like Cherry Garcia, Chunky Monkey and Chubby Hubby all being suggested by fans – we know their inspirations can be the cream of the crop," said Carbone.
In addition to the Fair Trade cocoa co-op visit, the assembled group of flavor finalists will join Ben & Jerry on a community project in the city of Yabon, which is a fundamental aspect of Ben & Jerry's Social Mission. The group will spend time building a playground for children in the community.
US winner Toni Gunnison, who has traveled to southern Mississippi before to donate time rebuilding houses for the less fortunate, is appreciative of the depth of the Dominican Republic visit. "I'm really, really happy to see there's some community service part of the trip. It makes it more interesting and appealing to me, much more so than just going to a beach resort."
The final winning Fair Trade flavor combination will be selected from the group of 15 global finalists and will be featured in participating Ben & Jerry's Scoop Shops for a limited-time only "Special Batch" offering in 2010.
Log online to find out more about Ben & Jerry's, to create your own flavor via the Flavor Generator, or to see the videos of the Flavor Gurus as they launched the Do the World a Flavor contest.
Ben & Jerry's produces a wide variety of super-premium ice cream and ice cream novelties, using high-quality ingredients including milk and cream from family farmers who do not treat their cows with the synthetic hormone rBGH. The company states its position on rBGH on its labels. Ben and Jerry's products are distributed nationwide and in selected foreign countries in supermarkets, grocery stores, convenience stores, franchise Ben & Jerry's Scoop Shops, restaurants and other venues. Ben & Jerry's, a Vermont corporation and wholly-owned subsidiary of Unilever, operates its business on a three-part Mission Statement emphasizing product quality, economic reward and a commitment to the community. Contributions made via the employee led Ben & Jerry's Foundation in 2008 totaled over $1.9 million. Additionally, the company makes significant product donations to community groups and nonprofits both in Vermont and across the nation. The purpose of Ben & Jerry's philanthropy is to support the founding values of the company: economic and social justice, environmental restoration and peace through understanding.