Multiple choice question: What's better than free ice cream? Trick question — the answer is nothing! Today is Free Cone Day 2017 at Häagen-Dazs, and can you think of a better way to stay chill in these climbing temperatures? That would be a resounding, "No." Today, at participating Häagen-Dazs locations only, you can get free scoops of ice cream and sorbet from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m (one scoop per person). They will be serving the kiddie-size scoops in your choice of cup, sugar cone, or cake cone. Oh, Häagen-Dazs. You had me at "free cone." AND then you really had me at "cake."
Häagen-Dazs, like a number of other ice cream shops, holds a Free Cone Day celebration annually to celebrate ice cream season. (I know, I know. Every season is ice cream season.) Although the history of all the free cone days that exist is a bit mysterious, it seems that the unofficial holiday started as early as 1979, thanks to Ben & Jerry’s. They held it as a "thank you" to their customers who helped support them in their first year of business in Vermont. By 1984, other locations caught on; in 1993, Canada hopped aboard the free cone bandwagon; and these days, some kind of free cone day is celebrated by most major ice cream shops, including Häagen Dazs, as a way to usher in the summer months and also introduce any seasonal flavors.
As if Häagen-Dazs wasn't already making all our dreams come true with free ice cream, it turns out there's actually an even better cause behind their particular Free Cone Day — yes, better than free ice cream. This year, they're encouraging customers to pay it forward by helping with one specific — and very concerning — issue: Keeping the bees alive.
Since around 2006, there has been a significant decline in honeybee populations, which are crucial to our own survival, since they play the biggest role in producing our fruits and vegetables. Harsh winters could be partly responsible, as well as increased use of pesticides, parasites, shrinking habitats, and cell phone towers. In just the last five years, we've lost 30 percent of our national bee population.
In a news release, President and General Manager Adam Hanson says, "This year, we want to take it a step further and call attention to the bees who also support us year-round in a much different way," adding, "Without bees, many of our indulgent flavors would disappear from our shops, including Vanilla Swiss Almond, Strawberry, and Rocky Road."
This isn't the first time Häagen-Dazs is taking action for the bees, either. "Last year, we installed one of the world's largest, privately funded pollinator habitats on the farm that supplies our almonds, one of our most popular ingredients," says Director of the Häagen-Dazs brand Alex Placzek, in the news release.
Enormous pollinator habitats are outstanding and all; but what can the Average Joe do to help? The ice cream giant suggests planting wildflowers native to your region, as an easier way to get involved and help in saving the bees.
Free ice cream has never been this sweet.