The Tiny Team Responsible For All Of Ben & Jerry's New Flavors

As the saying goes, "I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice scream!" All you have to do to see how beloved ice cream is to walk into the frozen food section of your local grocery store and peruse all the different ice cream brands. There you will find not only a variety of flavors, but also options for those who eat vegan, ice creams for people who are gluten sensitive, and even ones for those who prefer almond milk, cashew milk, and oat milk. There, in the midst of all the frozen joy, you will usually see a section devoted entirely to one particular brand: Ben & Jerry's.

Started in Burlington, Vermont, Ben & Jerry's is known for its creative ice cream flavors that often reference pop culture while tantalizing our taste buds. According to the brand's website, several of its flavors pay homage to music history, like Cherry Garcia, Phish Food, and Bohemian Raspberry, while others tip their caps at beloved movies, like 2013's Scotchy Scotch Scotch, which pointed to the film "Anchorman." Who comes up with this stuff?

Ice cream dream team

There is a tiny team of just nine people whose job it is to innovate, create, and test new flavors for Ben & Jerry's. They work as Ben & Jerry's "flavor gurus," and their job sounds like an Americone Dream.

Employees of Ben and Jerry's describe the testing process as eating a whole lot of ice cream ... but there's more to it than meets the eye. The process of creating a new ice cream flavor has many stages to it, and Thrillist notes that the bulk of it happens in secret. A video on Ben & Jerry's YouTube channel shares that not only are gurus considering flavor when developing a new ice cream, but also texture. The juxtaposition between smooth, silky, creamy, and crunchy is important, and has always been one of the hallmarks of their brand. 

One of the ways the team develops a new flavor is by going out into town and doing market research. They explore the culture of the cities they visit, and draw inspiration from them, per the brand's YouTube channel. According to Ben & Jerry's website, it takes around 12 months for a flavor to move from being a concept all the way to the point where consumers can purchase it in stores. That might sound like a long time, but attention to detail and quality control is not surprising given Ben & Jerry's stellar reputation.