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Ben & Jerry’s Testing New Ice Cream Delivery Service Using Drones

A drone startup company based in Japan is attempting to get their name out there by providing some unconventional delivery services to the world. The company is called Terra Drone and they recently made partnership with Unilever after offering their drone services to deliver some of Unilever’s brands goods. Specifically, Ben & Jerry’s, which is owned by Unilever, will be working with TerraDrone on the world’s first drone delivery ice cream service. 

Ice cream trucks have always been the traditional means of getting ice cream delivered right to you. As the world continues to modernize there are some options on apps like Uber Eats or Grubhub that provide store-to-door ice cream delivery services, however, that option depends on where you live specifically. Terra Drone decided that seasonal ice cream trucks and food ordering apps were simply not enough when it comes to getting ice cream delivered right to your front door, and Ben & Jerry’s couldn’t have agreed more. 

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Terra Drone made this monumental business deal happen by presenting their drone delivering concept at a recent Unilever investor event. At the event, members of the Terra Drone team used a multi-copter drone to deliver three 72 gram-ice cream containers (pictured above) to a predetermined location right outside where the event was taking place. The container itself is triangle shaped with a colorful outside lining that simply demands the recipient to “open me.”

“With regulations around future drone flights expected to become more flexible, the consumer goods company is preparing for a drone logistics service that will deliver products to more customers faster,” Terra Drone said in the press release.

While the collaboration is confirmed, it’s still unclear as to when Ben & Jerry’s and Unilever will officially announce their drone delivery campaign with TerraDrone. Just three years ago Unilever announced a program that they called “Ice Cream Now” which was meant to provide ice cream delivery through the app Uber Eats, as previously mentioned. 

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“Ice Cream Now” has over 900 pickup points throughout the country, Unilever contacted local grocery stores, 7/11’s, gas stations, and anywhere else that sold Ben & Jerry’s ice cream for the project. When individuals would go on the Uber Eats app they would likely see an option that said “The Ice Cream Store” or something of that nature but instead of going to an actual physical ice cream shop, Uber Eats drivers are connected to the nearest Ben & Jerry’s supplier to make the pick up. 

“Ice cream is not just something college students want. It’s something a mom wants after she puts the kids to bed. It’s a pretty common indulgence. And enough users who have already made up their minds that they need ice cream now don’t seem turned off by the [additional delivery] price,” (Tampa Bay Times).

Beyond just ice cream, companies such as Google, Amazon, and Walgreens have all explored drone delivery methods for their online shopping services. The difficulty lies in specific drone regulations that widely vary depending on what part of the country you are in; a lot of the policies can even be county specific, which poses a major challenge for major corporations trying to make it nationwide with this type of delivery option. 

Regardless of when it all occurs, drone delivery is likely the future of all packaging transportation as it’s more eco-friendly, faster, and easier than traditional means of mail delivery. So this summer when you’re waiting to hear that classic ice cream tune outside, maybe look up to the sky instead of waiting for a truck to turn the corner.

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Owner Of Ben & Jerry’s and Dove Pledge To Be Plastic Free By 2025

Unilever, the parent brand that’s responsible for making Ben & Jerry’s and Dove products, is taking action to help combat climate change, and make their brand a little greener. The company announced this week that they’re pledging to reduce their annual plastic use by half within the next coming years. 

In 2018, the company used around 772,000 tons of plastic, according to CNN, and by 2025 they plan to use no more than 386,000 tons. The company plans on accomplishing this massive goal by incorporating more reusable and refillable packaging into their products, and taking advantage of recycled materials to use as well. Additionally, they hope to adopt more “naked” packaging, meaning unwrapped without any plastic at all. Incorporating these new methods and transitioning from their current production system to adapt to this more Eco-friendly one will take time, hence the 2025 estimation. 

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“There is a lot of plastic pollution in the environment, and the fact of the matter is too much of it carries our name. This problem demands a fundamental rethink in our company’s approach to packaging and products. It requires us to introduce new and innovative materials, and scale up new business models, like reuse and refill formats, at an unprecedented speed and intensity,” Unilever CEO Alan Jope said in a statement. 

According to CNN, Unilever’s products are used in over 190 countries by 2.5 billion people daily! Think of the environmental impact it would have if all those people began using products made from recycled materials with little to no waste. This move is part of the company’s ongoing effort to make their products more green, they’ve already began selling ice cream bars wrapped in non-plastic packaging, and has transitioned a lot of their cleaning products to be distributed in reusable bottles so customers can buy the cleaning solutions in bulk, and refill their containers. Unilever is also one of the first major companies to become a part of a service known as Loop, that is taking the green product market by storm. 

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“Loop is a new way to shop, offering about 300 items — from Tide detergent to Pantene shampoo, Häagen-Dazs ice cream to Crest mouthwash — all in reusable packaging. After using the products, customers put the empty containers in a Loop tote on their doorstep. The containers are then picked up by a delivery service, cleaned and refilled, and shipped out to consumers again. In other words, it’s the 21st century milk man — here to save the world from single-use plastics,” according to CNN

Consumers and administrators of Unilever alike have all recently begun to notice how much single-use plastic is being used worldwide, and how much it’s contributing to the deterioration of our planet. Plastic is projected to outnumber fish in the world’s oceans by 2050, according to CNN, and the plastic that doesn’t end up in the ocean piles up in landfills, emitting greenhouse gases and further contributing to climate change. So, in an effort to combat that prediction Unilever has committed to making all the plastic it uses for its products completely reusable, refillable, recyclable, and compostable by 2025. It hopes that all products used with recycled plastic will make up about 25% of its inventories. To accomplish that 25%, Unilever plans on collecting and processing more plastic that they can recycle and reuse. The company plans on investing more in waste collection processes and expanding the amount of products it distributes through the Loop program. Hopefully more companies take note of Unilever’s massive contribution to the environment with this set plan, and join them on the journey to save our planet.