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Schweddy Balls ice cream spurs protest of Ben & Jerry’s

Updated: November 10, 2011 3:18PM

BURLINGTON, Vt. — Some people can resist Schweddy Balls — to the point of threatening to boycott Ben & Jerry’s.

A group called One Million Moms, an offshoot of the conservative organization American Family Association, is campaigning against what it says is Ben & Jerry’s “tasteless” name for its new ice-cream flavor.

The Vermont-based ice-cream maker, a unit of Unilever, unveiled the Schweddy Balls flavor earlier this month. The company based the name on a long-running “Saturday Night Live” sketch that features Alec Baldwin as bakery owner Pete Schweddy, who says of his holiday-themed concoction: “No one can resist my Schweddy balls.”

One Million Moms is organizing an email drive urging Ben & Jerry’s to stop distributing Schweddy Balls and to cancel any future batches of the flavor. If the company refuses, One Million Moms said it would urge consumers to boycott Ben & Jerry’s.

“The vulgar new flavor has turned something as innocent as ice cream into something repulsive. Not exactly what you want a child asking for at the supermarket,” reads a statement on the One Million Moms’ website.

Ben & Jerry’s spokesman Sean Greenwood said Tuesday the flavor has proved wildly popular, and another production run is planned for next week.

Schweddy Balls is vanilla ice cream with “a hint” of rum and fudge-covered malt balls with rum and milk chocolate, according to Ben & Jerry’s website.

Greenwood said the company has received a few hundred emails and some phone calls objecting to Schweddy Balls. However, the ice-cream maker has received many more messages praising the flavor, he said.

“We’ve been hearing from many fans. It appeals to those who love our irreverent sense of humor. If you watch the skit, it’s a lot easier to get the joke,” Greenwood said.

Sales have been stronger than expected. The Burlington Ben & Jerry’s scoop shop ran out of what was to have been a week’s supply of the ice cream in two days, Greenwood said. He could not provide specific figures.

“We’re feeling pretty psyched about Schweddy Balls,” Greenwood said.

Gannett News Service

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