By Jim Gillette:
I recently spoke via phone with Green Mountain Power’s David Dunn in Rutland, VT. to get his reaction to Ben & Jerry’s Homemade, Inc. introduction of a new CowPower flavored ice cream in London for World Animal Day on October 4th.
Jim Gillette: What do you think of the launch of Ben & Jerry’s new flavor, CowPower 8 days ago in London which supports standardization for housing, feeding, and health for dairy cows in the U.K.?
David Dunn: When I first read the press about the CowPower flavor, I was really a bit miffed. I personally had met with various people at Ben & Jerry’s in Vermont to ask them to both sign up to support Cow Power as a partner/customer, as well as work with us to develop a CowPower flavor to market test in Vermont After asking repeatedly, and making no progress, I basically gave up. That is the reason I was so surprised to see Ben & Jerry’s offering the Cow Power flavor in London. Just what I asked for, but nowhere near Vermont. I’ve since had a chance to cool down, and reduce my knee jerk reaction to better see the future potential of this. The packaging, the recipe, and the idea is done, we just need to modify it for Vermont, and ultimately the rest of the country. Focus on healthy, happy dairy cows is a mutual goal of Ben & Jerry’s, and me personally as well as my company, Green Mountain Power.
Jim Gillette: Do you think the Cow Power renewable energy campaign both nationally and in Vermont could benefit by aligning itself with Ben & Jerry’s new CowPower ice cream flavor?
David Dunn: Yes, I think that the Ben & Jerry’s brand and their marketing is much stronger than Green Mountain Power’s Cow Power Brand in Vermont, but I think Cow Power has its own international recognition from the renewable energy industry and young people especially looking for solutions to climate change and other environmental issues facing the world.
I think, with a little bit of editing to their CowPower packaging, we can tell the story that cows make more than milk and ice cream, they can make renewable energy to benefit our environment, and how socially important it is for people to help make that transition to renewable energy by supporting agriculture, food and renewable energy.
Jim Gillette: In what ways?
David Dunn: I think we could start in Vermont, where most people have heard of Cow Power, but have not seen our limited marketing materials. We can put a small amount of information on the Ice Cream i.e. To learn more….. Talk about the partnership between Ben & Jerry’s and Cow Power farmers providing both the milk and cream for their products, and the Cow Power farmer taking wash water from Ben & Jerry’s to help produce more renewable energy and reduce costs and environmental impacts of their operations.
Solar energy, grows the crops that the cows eat, the milk goes from the farm to Ben & Jerry’s, and the milky rinse water, (with a few gummy bears, chocolate cows and some cookie dough) goes back to the farm to produce renewable energy and ultimately fertilize and irrigate the crops that will start the cycle again for next year.
Jim Gillette: Do you think, introducing the “CowPower” ice cream flavor” here in the states, will help to promote the Cow Power renewable energy program?
David Dunn: I think a partnership with Ben & Jerry’s will help spread the great conversation we started with Green Mountain Power Cow Power. The Ben & Jerry’s brand has a much larger audience than our Green Mountain Power customers in Vermont. The goal would be to improve the CowPower ice cream flavor packaging to include the renewable energy message, to help capture more “hearts and minds” with the concept of consumer supported renewable energy from the dairy farms that produce the high quality milk and cream that goes into Super Premium Ben & Jerry’s products.