Skip to main content

Click to enlarge

  • Courtesy of Ben & Jerry’s
  • Rosie and the new Ben & Jerry’s dog dessert named after her

Ben & Jerry’s launched two frozen desserts designed especially for dogs.

The company hopes devoted fans will grab a pint of Cherry Garcia for themselves along with a 4-ounce mini cup of “Pontch’s Mix” peanut butter and a pretzel swirl for their furry best friend.

Like the recently announced “Change the Whirled” flavor named for activist and former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, the custom dog offerings are made with a base of sunflower seed butter.

Ben & Jerry’s Unveils New Colin Kaepernick “Change the Whirled” Flavor

The new flavor

Ben & Jerry’s Unveils New Colin Kaepernick “Change the Whirled” Flavor

By Sasha Goldstein

Disabled message

This base is more dog-friendly, company spokeswoman Laura Peterson explained, because some dogs don’t digest dairy well. “We’ve worked with pet nutritionists to make sure the treats are safe for dogs,” Peterson wrote in an email.

She cautioned, however, that the desserts aren’t completely dairy-free (like Kaepernick’s vegan flavor) because some ingredients, like the mini cookies, may contain dairy.

The new recipes were developed with the help of more than three dozen employee pets who frequent the dog-friendly corporate headquarters in South Burlington. Two even received the distinction of having flavors named after them.

“Pontch’s Mix” is named after a French bulldog owned by a longtime employee of the communications department. “Rosie’s Batch,” made with pumpkin and mini cookies, recognizes a mixed-race rescue who hangs out with the consumer insights team.

Although pet parents can also eat these new frozen desserts, Peterson warned that pet and human food regulations are very different, so the products are not marketed for human consumption. .

The project started about a year ago and had a similar development schedule and process to the company’s standard flavors.

Lindsay Bumps, a member of Ben & Jerry’s global marketing team, was involved in the project almost from the start, she said in a phone interview. Prior to working at Ben & Jerry’s, Bumps was a certified veterinary nurse and brought her animal care expertise to the project.

Bumps, whose French bulldog, Spock, comes to work with her, said the dogs are “kind of ingrained in our culture at Ben & Jerry’s.”

And unlike cats, who don’t like sweets, she says, “dogs enjoy treats.”

The development team focused on the base flavors dogs already love, including peanut butter and pumpkin, before adding the signature chunks and swirls the company is known for.

Ben & Jerry’s resident dog pack was used as a focus group to test the flavors. “Some dogs are tougher than others,” Bumps said, “but the majority of dogs who tested them liked them.”

Members of the human team were also able to vote. “They taste delicious,” Bumps said.

The market for dog treats is big. A market research report from Packaged Facts estimated the US pet food and treats market at $39 billion in 2020. Another report from Packaged Facts indicated that 49 million US households have pet dogs. company.

Packaged Facts noted that sales for the category have recently been “boosted by the surge in pet adoption following the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Ben & Jerry’s dog desserts will be sold in supermarkets, mass retailers and select pet stores nationwide.