BURLINGTON, VT—Ben & Jerry's, the Vermont-based ice-cream manufacturer known for its progressive social mission, held a press conference Monday to introduce a new flavor celebrating Academy Award winner Michael Moore.
"I'm really excited to announce the newest Ben & Jerry's ice-cream flavor," said Chrystie Heimert, Ben & Jerry's director of public relations. "In the spirit of Michael Moore's tasteful, playful calls for justice, we have created a tasteful, playful flavor: The Waffle Truth."
The Waffle Truth will honor the dynamic visionary by combining premium vanilla ice cream with strawberries, chocolate-covered waffle-cone bits, and a hint of cinnamon. The ice cream will be available in Ben & Jerry's Scoop Shops Friday, followed by a retail rollout in March.
"Making an ice-cream flavor that would do justice to such an important author and filmmaker wasn't easy," Heimert said. "We knew we'd be using ingredients bought at fair-market prices, but exactly what those ingredients would be was a source of a lot of good old-fashioned, honest, open debate."
Heimert said developers experimented with a host of possible ice-cream tributes to the best-selling author, including Stupid White Chocolate, Green Tea Nation, and Dude, Where's My Coconut?
Even after Ben & Jerry's decided what the new flavor would contain, developers struggled to perfect the name.
"We thought about calling it Cherry-heit 9-11, but we already have Cherry Garcia," Heimert said. "Fahrenheit 31.1 was the next choice, but we didn't think everyone would make the connection between the proper temperature for storing ice cream and the film that broke the theatrical documentary box-office record by seamlessly blending comedy with hard-hitting fact."
"We also considered a name reminiscent of our popular Chubby Hubby flavor," Heimert said. "But in the end, we decided The Waffle Truth would be more respectful to Moore's achievements than a flavor called Hefty Lefty."
Ben & Jerry's has previously honored pop-culture icons Phish and Jerry Garcia, as well as the TV show Seinfeld. This is the first time that the company has honored a director.
"Michael Moore's David-and-Goliath commentaries cut conservative bigwigs down to size,"Heimert said. "He follows the beat of his own drummer and works in his own unique way to improve the average American's life. Our choice was a natural—just like our ice cream: We use only fresh milk and cream bought from farmers that have pledged never to use recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone."
Added Heimert: "We believe that Michael will remain an important voice in American politics, and that we will find no need to discontinue The Waffle Truth, as we did Wavy Gravy, Doonesberry Sorbet, and Dilbert's World Totally Nuts."
The Emmy Award winner made a surprise appearance at the Ben & Jerry's Scoop Shop in Times Square to support the product.
"I'm honored Ben & Jerry's decided to dedicate an ice cream to me," Moore told the excited crowd. "It's a fantastic company with a great track record of treating their employees fairly and using only ethically produced ingredients."
"Plus, a lifetime supply of ice cream sounds pretty good," Moore added, patting his stomach with a self-deprecating laugh.
According to Ben & Jerry's press materials, The Waffle Truth rollout will include a nationwide tour by the company's promotional ice-cream wagon. The tour will begin its journey in Flint, MI and continue south to distribute free pints of ice cream in 14 Rust Belt cities suffering from post-industrial decline.
Other Ben & Jerry's flavors slated for introduction in 2005 are Praline Kael, Noam ChompChompsky Crunch, Ché Guava, and Nelson Vanilla, an anti-apartheid flavor that consists of a dark-chocolate sorbet swirled in an equal amount of vanilla ice cream.