Ben & Jerry's '90s British Flavor Competition Swirled Up Controversy

Ben & Jerry's is known for its unique ice cream combinations and even more unusual names (via Ben & Jerry's). Like its Coffee Coffee BuzzBuzzBuzz that features espresso bean fudge chunks or pop culture flavors like Netflix & Chilll'd variety that contains salty pretzel swirls and pieces of brownie. Co-founder of Ben & Jerry's, Ben Cohen, told the New York Times that part of the reason they initially created these types of distinctive blends was that he doesn't have a great sense of smell or taste. So, his partner Jerry Greenfield had to create powerful flavors that he could really taste.

However, that doesn't mean that every ice cream mixture has been successful for the duo. Cohen admitted to LIFE that when they attempted their first batch of Rum Raisin in 1977, "It was rubbery" and didn't taste great (via TIME). With all of this in mind, it's not entirely surprising that the iconic dessert brand once held a competition that came up with some names that not everyone was a fan of.

The name of the flavor referenced to a British military anthem

According to the Tampa Bay Times, Ben & Jerry's held a contest in 1996 that asked people to create and name a quintessential British ice cream flavor. Dessert fans came up with names like "Cream Victoria," "Queen Yum Mum," and "Vanilla Parker-Bowles." But the winning flavor ultimately went to an American that came up with the name "Cool Britannia," which contained vanilla ice cream, strawberries, and shortbread. The name was in reference to the British military anthem "Rule Britannia," which Ben & Jerry's said was "suitably evocative."

The song that the ice cream was named after was written in 1740 by James Thomson when there was a long ongoing conflict between Great Britain and France, per Metro. While some argue the melody is about Britain's refusal to cower against the French, others find it problematic because they believe it glorifies the colonial past of Great Britain.

A publishing director of books on the world's royalty, Harold Brooks-Baker, told the Tampa Bay Times that he wasn't happy with the ice cream flavor name. "I think it lacks a certain amount of imagination," he explained. "Can't they think of something new rather than borrowing from the blood of the nation's past? I think at best it's simply silly."