Ben and Jerry’s Israeli franchise to expand after parent company caves to BDS demands

CEO Avi Zinger says expanding to other products like ice cream bars, and building a tourist center, is part of the plan.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Ben & Jerry’s Israeli franchise is going to open a bigger factory and vastly expand operation in the country now that he is free of the constraints imposed on him by the anti-Israel policies of the parent brand of the ice cream he sold for years in the Jewish state, Ynet reported Sunday.

“Now I can do what I want,” Zinger told Ynet. “I plan to expand the brand into other ice cream products, with the aim of increasing my market share in the ice cream industry.”

This will include ice cream bars and popsicles, he said, which make up “60% of the ice cream market in the country.” He also wants to enlarge the frozen “pastry division, which produces pretzels, Belgian waffles, and blintzes.”

Until now, Ben & Jerry’s has been known for its pint-sized containers, which Zinger says has captured just under half of this niche market in the country.

Zinger managed for decades in his factory in the moshav of Be’er Tuvia, but with his new freedom, he will construct a much larger facility in Kiryat Gat, a city some 19 kilometers away that is perhaps most famous for another American company that set up shop in its industrial zone decades ago – Intel.

Read  Hamas chief visiting Tehran to meet with senior officials

While the chip-maker has just closed a deal with the Israeli government to build another plant there to the tune of billions of shekels that will boost Israel’s high-tech sector, Zinger’s plan may provide a lift to the tourism industry, albeit on a much smaller scale.

The CEO wants to construct a visitors’ center, which could be a great draw for local families as well as foreigners, considering the popularity of ice cream in a Middle Eastern country that basically has eight months of hot weather.

He noted that in Vermont, home of the iconic American brand, its visitor center “is considered the best tourist site” in the state.

The Unilever conglomerate, which had acquired Ben and Jerry’s in 2000, had incurred huge monetary losses last year after anti-BDS legislation kicked in in several U.S. states following its subsidiary stating that it would not renew its Israeli franchisee because Zinger sold its cold treats in what it called the “occupied Palestinians territories.”

Unilever, which owns multi-million-dollar businesses in Israel, solved the problem by selling the franchise to Zinger.

The long arm of the controversy, which lasted many months, has not yet let him go, however. The chairwoman of Ben and Jerry’s in the U.S., Anuradha Mittal, recently falsely accused Israel on X of genocide in its war against Hamas following the terrorists’ surprise invasion of Israel on October 7 in which they massacred 1,200 people, the vast majority of them civilians.

Read  Erdogan’s litany of false accusations against Israel

Because of her posts, he said, “Customers told my distributors, ‘You’re Hamas supporters,’ and I have to prove I don’t.” They don’t understand, he said, that he is “no longer affiliated with the global Ben & Jerry’s brand.”