Honey bees pollinate one-third of the foods we eat, including many of the ingredients we use to make our pure and simple ice creams, sorbets and bars. Unfortunately, honey bee populations are disappearing at an alarming rate. Over the last five years, we've lost over one-third of our honey bee colonies nationwide, due to factors such as colony collapse disorder (ccd), an alarming phenomenon that occurs when honey bees mysteriously desert their hive and die. Researchers do not know exactly what causes ccd, but they believe there may be many contributing factors, including viruses, mites, chemical exposure, and poor nutrition. If this continues, we’re forced to imagine a world without them. No tasty pears, luscious raspberries, or juicy strawberries.
Since 2008, Häagen-Dazs® ice cream has teamed up with leading research facilities to donate more than $1,000,000 to honey bee research. Our ongoing contributions recognize the role honey bees play in our food production. Delicious Häagen-Dazs® flavors like rocky road, vanilla swiss almond and strawberry, among others, rely on thriving honeybee colonies. The funds we donate are used to help support the harry h. laidlaw jr. honey bee research facility at the university of california, davis, which is the largest and most comprehensive state-supported apiculture facility in north america. The Häagen-Dazs® ice cream contributions also support the maintenance of the Häagen-Dazs® honey bee haven–a bee-friendly demonstration garden on the uc davis campus–as well as the development of educational materials. Häagen-Dazs® has also teamed up with the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, a non-profit that has been working to protect bees and other insects through the conservation of invertebrates and their habitats for more than 40 years. With the largest pollinator conservation team in the world, the Xerces Society has been the perfect partner to help create a sustainable agricultural program for our farmer suppliers, focused on improving the health of bee populations near the farms where our ingredients grow. In our latest effort, we worked with Xerces to install the largest, privately funded pollinator habitat on the farmland of our almond supplier in California’s Central Valley. The newly-planted habitat consists of six and a half miles of hedgerow and 11,000 native drought-tolerant shrubs and flowering plants, impacting 840 acres of farmland. By working hand-in-hand with our farmer suppliers to change the way ingredients are grown, we can better support native bee population and help keep these little heroes buzzing.