The Real Reason Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream Is So Expensive

Ben & Jerry's, one of the most well-recognized ice cream brands in the United States, is known for its creative — often punny — flavor names, delicious pints, and for its social justice-driven mission. Started in 1978, Ben & Jerry's has grown to be one of the world's favorite ice cream brands, per Marketing91. After trying any of its countless options — the company even makes dairy-free alternatives — it's not hard to see why. Ben & Jerry's ice cream is, in a word, delicious.

Although, if you were to ask for another adjective to describe the iconic company, some might say "expensive." And, yes, that is objectively true. A pint of Ben & Jerry's costs just under $5 at Target, whereas a 56-ounce container of Target's Market Pantry brand costs $2.59. Similarly, another in-house Target brand, Favorite Day, costs $3.49 for a pint.

So why is Ben & Jerry's so much more expensive? Is it that good that it deserves the extra markup? While the answer does have to do with certain values the company is known for, it's not directly related to its impressive market power.

The cost of Ben & Jerry's has to do with fair trade

Ben & Jerry's is known for its deep commitment to social justice initiatives, and the ways it makes ice cream is no different. "At Ben & Jerry's, being fair means a lot to us — being fair not just to our employees and fellow ice-cream lovers, but to the people who grow all the mouth watering ingredients we use in our flavors," the company wrote.

In the same article, they outline what it means to source fair trade ingredients, and why this practice costs more money. As the company explained, fair trade is about prioritizing small farmers. It's recognizing that with intense market competition, small or local farmers often can't afford to sell crops at a price that matches those of a bigger corporation. This forces farmers not only out of business, but often off of their land and homes as well.

Ben & Jerry's is committed to buying ingredients within the fair trade system, where farmers and crop producers get paid fairly for products and labor. Within this system, all farmers "agree to use environmentally friendly farming practices, implement fair labor standards, and invest in their communities," Ben & Jerry's explained.

The price of doing business like this is higher, but for a good reason and a good cause.

So, while yes, Ben & Jerry's is a little more expensive, there's a solid reason for it. And next time you grab a pint of Phish Food or Cherry Garcia, you'll know you're doing as much good in the world as the ice cream tastes in your mouth.