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Ben & Jerry's new flavor: Did it go too far?

Ben & Jerry's flavor boycotted by some supermarkets. Moms organizations says name of Ben & Jerry's ice cream inappropriate for children.

By Stephanie ReitzAssociated Press / October 22, 2011

Ben & Jerry's new ice cream flavor, "Schweddy Balls," inspired by an innuendo-laced "Saturday Night Live" skit, has come under fire from the conservative One Million Moms' boycott movement. Some supermarkets are not stocking the controversial flavor.

Ben & Jerry's/AP/File



Ben & Jerry's Schweddy Balls ice cream is too hot to handle for some supermarket chains.

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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."