My new friend Cathy Nobriga Kim at Roselani Ice Cream on the island of Maui has a great story. Her company has been in the business of making ice cream for 76 years. They are available in only in Hawaii and have developed loyal customers that demand their product throughout the USA. Unfortunately, shipping ice cream from Hawaii is very expensive, but it doesn’t stop people from as far away as Wisconsin and New York from calling and pleading to get her ice cream. As Cathy described it for me, “people look for my ice cream because it brings back wonderful memories from their time on the Islands.”
Cathy is also a breast cancer survivor. She created a flavor, Aloha Cherry Truffle, specifically to raise money for breast cancer. Seeing as how this is breast cancer month, I thought it is a perfect time to share her story.
What makes this so great is that her flavor development and usage was a community event. In making it a reality, she worked with the Maui Medical Center Foundation and the Maui Community College Culinary Program. In fact, the latter now produces the truffle for her ice cream.
17 food service establishments used her ice cream as the main ingredient for a creative dessert event called the “A.C.T. Sweet Now to Beat Breast Cancer” campaign. The restaurants created imaginative dessert preparations and donated portions of or all the proceeds to a fund specifically created through the foundation to raise community awareness about the importance of early detection of breast cancer. The program was so successful that Cathy is now offering the flavor in cartons for retail. Here is a picture of the carton, as designed by award winning designer Sadene Ota:
One of the hot trends found in big business today is Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). It is about understanding that corporations are also forces with the power to positively affect change for the better in their local communities. All companies engage in charity because it makes good business sense and it feels good, but this is just step one of the process. In the future companies will probably have to align themselves with communities in which they do business. Some of this is happening now. One example is what Nestle did when it opened a plant in India. Another example is Starbucks, who pioneered fair trade for coffee growers. Donating funds to a museum and the local soup kitchen are worthy causes, but citizens of the world are demanding more active roles for corporations on larger scales.
It is great to know that this is trickling down to smaller companies. Roselani is ahead of the curve. Not only is Cathy helping to fund breast cancer research; she is providing an excellent educational experience too!
An entire community joined together to use ice cream to do good for the world. Is there anything ice cream can’t do?