Stop & Shop Won’t Carry Ben & Jerry’s Racy New Flavor

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Ben & Jerry’s Schweddy Balls ice cream is too hot to handle for some supermarket chains.

While the new limited-edition flavor has brought chuckles from fans of the “Saturday Night Live” skit on which it’s based, some supermarket chains aren’t laughing and have been giving it a cold shoulder.

The flavor featuring fudge-covered rum balls has been absent from some grocery freezers since it was unveiled. The title was inspired by an innuendo-laced 1998 skit featuring Alec Baldwin as baker Pete Schweddy, who promises, “No one can resist my Schweddy balls.”

But apparently some grocery store chains can, and so can supporters and members of the One Million Moms group.

That Mississippi-based moms organization has been putting the heat on retailers to keep Schweddy Balls out of their freezers and encouraging parents to ask the Vermont-based Ben & Jerry’s to stop production of the item, saying the name is nothing but locker room humor that’s not appropriate for young children.

Store chains that have decided not to carry the flavor are not saying whether their decisions were influenced by the One Million Moms group, their own reservations about the name or other factors.

Suzi Robinson, a spokeswoman for the Quincy, Mass.-based Stop & Shop chain, said that for proprietary reasons, the company does not disclose the reasons behind decisions about what the stores do and don’t carry. She said they have a very strong relationship with Ben & Jerry’s, though, and its products are generally strong sellers.

“We haven’t received any complaints that we’re not carrying that flavor. However, if we do get feedback from customers that they want it, we’ll certainly revisit the decision,” she said.

Messages were left Thursday for spokespeople from the Roche Bros. and Big Y grocery chains, both based in Massachusetts; and Publix, which has scores of locations in the southeastern U.S., about whether they had decided to stock the flavor.

Even with limited availability, though, Ben & Jerry’s spokesman Sean Greenwood said Thursday that Schweddy Balls has quickly become the most popular limited-edition flavor the company has produced. Greenwood said about one-third of the retailers that carry its other products are offering Schweddy Balls, about the same as any other specialty flavor it has produced — though this one has outpaced those in sales at the stores and the company’s “Scoop Shops.”

“We’ve heard from lots of folks who are fans of the flavor,” he said. “Yes, some supermarket chains decided not to carry Schweddy Balls. That is true, possibly because they found the name too irreverent. We respect their decision.”

Ben & Jerry’s, a division of consumer products giant Unilever, has toyed with language in some other products, too, such as its widely stocked Karamel Sutra ice cream and the peanut butter-laden What a Cluster, formerly known as Clusterfluff.

But it was Schweddy Balls that raised the ire of the conservative One Million Moms group. Monica Cole, director of the Tupelo, Miss.-based organization, said Thursday they hesitated to call out Ben & Jerry’s publicly about the name because they did not want to give it publicity.

She said they felt obligated, though, especially given that they did not step forward with their concerns about its “Hubby Hubby” flavor, a play on its “Chubby Hubby” flavor and created to recognize same-sex marriages.

“We don’t want the envelope to continue to be pushed,” Cole said of the Schweddy Balls name. “I realize it could be a lot worse, but are they going to progressively get worse if we don’t say something? Maybe they’ll think twice before they come up with another inappropriate name for ice cream.”

The company’s website encourages members and supporters to warn the company they will stop buying its products if more Schweddy Balls or other products with offensive names are produced.

“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,” the organization’s website says.

But some are — including Gina Ragusa’s 14-year-old son and 10-year-old daughter, whose mother said Thursday they all eagerly await the day when they can find Schweddy Balls in a supermarket near their home in Davie, Fla. Ragusa, 44, said they find the name and the skit itself to be just harmless humor, and she checks for the item almost every time she stops at her nearby Publix store.

“I get it, I know `Saturday Night Live’ isn’t geared toward a 10-year-old, but they know when Justin Timberlake is on,” said Ragusa, whose family has the “Schweddy balls” skit on a DVD of Baldwin’s greatest SNL appearances.

“We just think it’s funny, that’s all,” she said of the ice cream name, “and honestly we all really want to try it.”

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

  • Lou Lange

    It seems as though some in this country are so afraid of parody and satire that anything that offends their sensibilities is the target of boycotts. No one is obligated to buy Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream – but to call for a boycott based on the name??? Ridiculous!

    • PJS

      i agree

    • web

      afraid of parody? everything on tv is parody hello! do you even put the tv on? no one cares what’s on anymore, there are no lines in the sand’s all out there. so please, afraid of satire? when i can watch a woman get mauled and raped by men on saturday at noon on regular tv, it seems nothing can offend anymore. so while i do not like boycotts, i’m sick of all the garbage out there my kids are exposed to without even trying.

  • gigi

    “not appropriate for young children” you may have had a point if it were the young children with the money to buy the product but its the parents who do, so its simple, dont buy the icecream. Icecream is a legal substance and the name and pic on the carton is not XXX – Schweddy is the name of the guy and if you explain it that way rather than going straight for the double-entendre then you wouldnt have an issue. Use your brain if you have one rather than jumping on any bandwagon to ban a product.

    • PJS

      gigi, grow up–kids know more than you think they do.

      • gigi

        if they are old enough to get the double-entrendre, they are old enough to know its just a joke – thats the point – lighten up

  • NotMe

    but karamel sutra is ok?

  • timma

    really, wow! so when they have cosmo magazine at the checkout eye level, uncovered with the title ‘101 sex positions that will make hie toes curl’ thats ok

  • emom

    OK are these women such prudes, stuck up and wearing clothes that cover them so nothing is exposed, come on ,, its nothing bad,,, Its a name from SNL.. good god its not anything risque gee get off it… There are more important things in this world we need to worry about… GET A LIFE GEE

  • Mark

    What a lame society we live in today! Lighten up you puritans.

  • PJS

    timma, e-mom, & mark
    , & luo
    i agree — your comments are appriate–so to those others: as mark states

  • emom

    IMHO,, if folks are SO WORRIED about teens and young kids interpreting things especially about sex,, how about you worry about what they are doing, what they WQATCH, what they WEAR, Yeah have you seen some of the clothes young girls wear, inappropriate, they way they talk , walk around and act like they are sexy, what does a 10 yo need to be sexy for, honestly this society worries about some of the craziest stuff. Worry if your kids are drinking, using drugs, having sex, especially at a young age, worry about who they are with and what they are doing right under your nose, stop worrying about an ice cream that means nothing, its food, not sex, yup puritans trying desperately to control everyone.,

  • Matt

    How about a fish smelling one called ‘Scent of a Woman’ Whooaahhh!!!

  • John A

    I live in Boca Raton Fl. I called Publix Corporate and was informed by Customer Service that Publix will not sell “Schweddy Balls”, the Ben&Jerry’s new flavor.. What is wrong with the Corporate empty suits at Publix and Stop & Shop that they allow a group of finatical zelots to dictate the policy of what the company will sell in it’s stores ? Its’ freakin ICE CREAM people not drugs. Get a grip and go find a life. If you are offended then don’t buy it ; but don’t try and prevent others from buying it because you think you are the Morality Police. Why can’t these company’s grow some stones and tell the zelots that they will sell the product and if they wish to remin loyal customers they are most welcome to do so. Go find something of significance to be offended by….or is that not possible in Mississiippi .

  • Notaprude

    My local Market Basket/Demoulas store will not sell it either, but they have no problem selling ping pong balls next to the party cups to encourage underage drinking…
    I’d rather see my child have some ice cream than play beer pong!

  • emom

    Yeah or marketing drinks with alchohol in it that looks like fruit punch,, Nit wits, guess we will need to go on line and order our icecream,, ICE CREAM,, WHAT NEXT, oh waot how about that candy bark hhmmm the name its weird,,,,,,,oh yeah WHATAMACALLIT,, i THINK THATS THE NAME… How about the chunky bar, what are some thiking about,, Oh wait they are not thinking,,,,,,,

  • Gloria Steinham

    Yes, they are pushing the envelope on this one but it’s up to the consumer to either buy it or not. What would all of those “progressive women’ think who chuckle at this if they came out with a new line called “big boobs”? I’ll bet that their “lighten up” attitude would change & quickly.

  • Vanilla Fudge

    I actually bought some AT stop and shop about a month ago. They probably stopped selling it because I stopped every employee in the store to ask them if they had “schweddy balls”

  • Carl

    Oh come on!!!!….how many times have these 1 million mothers tasted Schweddy Balls?”….Or at least sampled them?…I guess their protest and dislike for Schweddy Balls is based on experience!….Oh well….!!!

  • Michael.

    Who cares about the One Million Moms Group in Mississippi,and the American Family Association.No one needs them anymore both of them should get a life..I think Ben and Jerry’s should carry the flavor on the store shelves Ii am for it.

  • Frank Davis

    I saw the best Tweet earlier today from Peanut via Jeff Dunham: “These stores refuse to sell Schweddy Balls but they still sell Ho-Ho’s”

  • Schweddy Eddie

    I think Ben & Jerry had too much wine one night. They are, however, getting quite a bit of free publicity.

  • mike

    Ben and Jerry should make a real nutty ice cream called ” DEEEZ NUUUTS !!!!”

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