- The Toyosu Market in Tokyo is the largest fish market in the world, and is home to world-famous tuna auctions.
- Expert bidders flock to the market each morning for a chance to buy top-tier tuna, sometimes paying as much as $3 million.
- We followed a veteran tuna bidder, who explained the ins and outs of tuna auctions and his industry’s role in marine sustainability.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
- Ben & Jerry’s is the best-selling single ice cream brand in the world.
- It’s gained a cult following thanks to classic flavors like Half Baked and Cherry Garcia and a mission to use ice cream to fight for equality.
- We visited the plant in St. Albans, Vermont, to see how Ben & Jerry’s pumps out nearly 1 million pints a day.
- It takes hundreds of workers, special machinery, and a 24/7 operation to package up these pints.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Following is a transcription of the video.
Narrator: Scooped up across 38 countries and up to 75 flavors, Ben & Jerry’s is no pint-sized operation. Its two Vermont factories run 24/7, operated by hundreds of flavor makers. Together, they pump out nearly a million pints a day, from classic flavors like Cherry Garcia and Half Baked to flavors on a mission for criminal-justice reform and refugee rights. And all those flavors have to be delicious.
Sarah Fidler: Our minimum run size, once we get a flavor to the factory, is 80,000 pints. So not only do we have to love it, but 80,000 fans have to love it too.
Narrator: We visited the St. Albans plant in northern Vermont to see how these famous pints flip their way to our freezers. Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield started Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Ice Cream in 1978. From a renovated gas station in Burlington, Vermont, they launched a brand based on sustainable ice cream making and advocating for causes they believed in, and it worked. Today, Ben & Jerry’s is the best-selling single brand ice cream label in the US. To pump out its iconic flavors, first it starts with ingredients.
Ben & Jerry’s partners with 250 farms globally to source everything from vanilla bean to milk. Milk comes from the St. Albans Cooperative Creamery, just a mile and a half from the factory. Once the milk’s at the plant, it heads to one of these massive, 6,000-gallon silos.
But before it can be made into ice cream, everyone involved has to suit up, including us. Gowns, hairnets, caps, and boots.
To make the ice cream base, the milk heads to the blend tank. Cream, milk, and lots of sugar are churned together. The factory goes through 6,700 gallons of cream every single day. Every ice cream flavor starts with either a sweet cream base or a chocolate base.
Next, the Mix Master will pour in eggs, stabilizers, and cocoa powder if it’s a chocolate base. Then it’s piped into the pasteurizer. You can’t see it happening, but hot steel plates are heating up the mix to kill any harmful bacteria. The newly pasteurized milk is stored in a tank for four to eight hours, so the ingredients can really get to know each other.
After making the two bases, they’ll head to one of the 20 flavor vats to get a flavor boost.
Fidler: We’re always coming up with new flavors, hundreds of flavors a year, and we usually narrow it down to about three or four. We really love to bring our social mission values into our naming process. For example, Empower Mint to talk about voting rights.
Narrator: Before Ben & Jerry’s famous chunks can be added, the mix has to get to below-freezing temperatures. It’s pumped through this giant freezing barrel, and when it gets to the front, it’s finally ice cream. Along the way, it’s quality tested, meaning lucky factory floor workers get to taste the ice creams.
Then it goes into the first of two freezer visits. When it comes out, it’s 22 degrees and somewhere between the consistency of a milkshake and soft serve.
Now for the best part, the chunks. Founder Ben actually didn’t have a great sense of smell, which meant he couldn’t taste much either. So his big thing was texture. That’s why Ben & Jerry’s has some of the biggest chunks in the ice cream industry. These chunks end up in flavors like Half Baked, Chubby Hubby, or the one we’re making, Chocolate Therapy.
Workers dump in add-ins through the Chunk Feeder, from brownie bites and cookie dough globs to chocolate chunks, fruits, and nuts. They let us give it a try, but it’s not as easy as it looks. Then it’s finally time to pack those pints. Workers stack the empty containers into the automatic filler. The machine drops the pints into position and perfectly pumps in ice cream. It can fill up 270 pints a minute. The pints are pushed towards the lidder and sealed tight.
At this point, six pints every hour are pulled off the line for quality testing. Quality assurance personnel first cut pints open. They’re making sure the ingredients are symmetrical and there aren’t any big air bubbles.
Worker: There is a small gap, but that’s what we call a functional void. If we saw large voids, it would be concerning. It’s actually quite the workout, as you can tell.
Narrator: They also measure the weight and volume of pints to ensure that the right amount of ice cream makes it into each container.
Worker: So, we know the weight of the ice cream, and anything below 460 is not passable.
Narrator: Now back to the factory line. It’s now time for the pints to take a second spin in the freezer. The ice cream has to get even colder, down to minus 10 degrees. The pints travel along the Spiral Hardener, a corkscrew-shaped conveyor belt inside a freezer. With the wind chill, it can get up to minus 60 degrees in there.
After three hours, the pints are finally frozen and ready to be packaged. They’re flipped over and shrink wrapped into groups of eight. Together, they make a gallon. But you’ll never actually see a gallon tub of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, because the company never wants its ice cream going bad sitting in the back of your fridge. Once the pints are packaged, they’re ready to be shipped across the globe.
Abby Narishkin: Hey, guys, my name’s Abby, and I’m one of the producers on this video. My favorite flavor is definitely Ben & Jerry’s Milk & Cookies, but let me know your favorites in the comments below and if you have any ideas for the next episode of “Big Business.” Don’t forget to hit the subscribe button so you don’t miss out.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This video was originally published in August 2020.
- People celebrate the Hindu holiday of Holi with colorful powder known as gulal.
- One company in Hathras, India, makes over 6,000 tons of gulal every year.
- We went inside the factory churning out powder year-round in the gulal capital of the world.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Yellow is one of the most popular colors thrown during Holi. Called gulal, the fine powder is made from a mixture of starch and dyes.
One factory in India, Radha Kishan Color World, produces 2,000 tons of gulal annually. It’s based in the northern city of Hathras, where most of the world’s gulal comes from.
We went inside one of the largest manufacturers to see how it’s preparing for its first Holi during the pandemic. Ratan Bihari Agrawal and his family are behind Radha Kishan Color World, also known as the Cock Brand.
“Our business is 80 years old,” he told Insider. He and his family have run the company for four generations. One of the main products they produce is gulal, churning out more than 600 pounds of the powder a day.
In Hathras, Holi powder production brings in more than 30 crore rupees, or over $4 million, each year. There are over a dozen gulal-making facilities in the city alone. The Cock Brand itself employs almost 100 people to focus on five main processes: packaging, handmade processing, controlling the command center, storage, and gulal drying in nearby fields. The company makes both handmade and machine-processed gulal to keep up with demand.
The Cock Brand works with hundreds of colors. Each popular Holi color has at least a dozen hues.
“Imagine life without colors. Imagine life in black and white. It is boring. Colors give you pop,” said Manu Garg, Ratan’s brother. “Every color tells a story. Red stands for love. Blue is for royalty. Pink [is] for caring and yellow is for happiness,” he said.
The first part of the process always starts with a starch mixture. Corn starch is the base for the color powder. It’s used instead of common bases like talcum because it’s less toxic and much lighter. Then, the mixture goes through a grinder before it’s baked in the sunlight.
While baking is an important step, the city in Uttar Pradesh is prone to rain and even monsoons, which affect when the gulal is dried. In addition, the powder production coincides with the region’s farming season. And both factors play a role in how much gulal can be produced before Holi. Ratan recalls times when orders were affected by rain, sometimes losing 60% to 70% of orders.
To prevent loss, Ratan and Manu invested in a mechanized gulal making process. “Within seconds, it converts pure starch directly into gulal. The machine now works 24 hours a day. We only halt the machine on Sunday for greasing,” he said.
On top of gulal, the company makes over 260 types of gulal-dispensing toys. The Cock Brand sells most of its products straight to businesses, but many gadgets can be found at the Hathras Color Market. Open year-round, it’s one of the largest Holi markets in the world.
Hathras became the gulal hub due to it’s proximity with the Braj region, where Holi celebrations last as long as two weeks. In the city, it’s used often. “For any happy occasion, gulal is used. When a candidate wins an election, they celebrate it with gulal.” Gulal is also a popular prop in Bollywood movies. “Our gulal is used to show celebration, in serials, movies and stories,” Ratan said.
The tradition of Holi can be traced back to several Hindu legends about Lord Krishna.
“When Lord Krishna and Radha Rani play Holi with each other, it shows the emotion of love and compassion,” Manu said.
Depending on the region, Holi can be a multiday festival or an afternoon celebration. The first evening is known as Chhoti Holi, or small Holi, and usually involves a symbolic bonfire. The second day is when people of all ages wear white and throw colorful powder at one another.
Last year, Holi fell right before the coronavirus was officially declared a global pandemic. But this year, massive crowds of people are celebrating even as India grapples with another spike.
Aligarh resident Manpreet Singh said said it was important for the people to come outside this year to celebrate Holi.
“People were suffocated in their houses,” Singh said. “Finally, a festival has arrived, and people have exited their homes and are celebrating it.”
Still, cases are rising. India reported over 68,000 new coronavirus infections on March 28 – the highest single day rise so far this year – taking the nationwide tally well over 11 million. So far, about a dozen Indian states and territories have banned Holi celebrations.
“COVID has impacted all the industries all over the world. Moreover, our business is a seasonal business,” Manu said.
Sales here declined by almost 10% last year. But the company has hopes for high returns in 2021.
“We hope that this pandemic ends soon and people can enjoy Holi as it is meant to be,” Ratan said.
- The 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group (AMARG) stores thousands of retired military aircraft.
- This collection would be the world’s second largest air force if it were in service.
- But the planes don’t just come here to die. Mechanics reclaim parts and regenerate entire aircraft to go back into service.
- Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.
Following is a description of the video:
Narrator: The 309th AMARG stores the world’s largest collection of military aircraft here in the Arizona desert.
Col. Jennifer Barnard: I like to call this the ugliest plane out here, the YC-14. It was an aircraft that never went into production.
Narrator: Eight hundred mechanics work nonstop, reclaiming critical old parts and regenerating aircraft so they can go back into service.
Barnard: I can’t just pull over an airplane like you can a car. And we have to make sure that these aircraft are safe to fly. Our goal is not to be like a cemetery for the aircraft.
Narrator: That’s Col. Barnard. She’s served 25 years as a US Air Force Aircraft Maintenance Officer.
Barnard: As a commander here, I am in charge of the whole operation. The assets stored here are worth somewhere between $34 billion and $35 billion, if you were to try to replace them all. It’s a big number.
Narrator: She took us inside this massive facility to see how these military planes get a second chance at life. AMARG got its start back in 1946. After World War II, the Army needed a place to store old planes. They chose Davis-Monthan Air Force Base here in Tucson. With nearly 2,000 football fields worth of open desert, there was plenty of space.
Barnard: We’re known worldwide as the boneyard. Our guys take pride in being boneyard wranglers.
Narrator: Arizona has the perfect weather for storing these assets. It’s hot, there’s little rainfall, no humidity, and the soil?
Barnard: It’s as hard as concrete.
Narrator: So planes won’t sink.
Barnard: The dryness, as well as the lack of acidity in the soil, prevent corrosion on the assets.
Narrator: Aircraft come here from the Department of defense, military, other government agencies, and froeign allies.
Barnard: We have about 3,100 airplanes. The planes are mostly military. They come from the Air Force, the Navy, the Army, and the Marines. We have over 80 different types of airplanes here.
Narrator: Planes and helicopters arrive and are lined up in sections.
Barnard: So we’re driving down display row here, or celebrity row as some people call it. We do have a sense of humor here. That’s our stealth aircraft, which is actually just Wonder Woman’s jet. The LC-130s have skis along with their landing gear so they can land down in Antarctica and support the National Science Foundation all across that continent. We’re coming up on a NASA aircraft. It’s affectionately called the vomit comet.
Narrator: Some aircraft will be here for weeks before they’re called back into service. Other aircraft can be here for 50 years, similar to this A-4 Skyhawk. Each plane goes through a preservation process before it’s put in the desert. Those that may fly again are re-preserved every four years. They’re defueled, then oil is pumped through the engine to preserve it.
Barnard: The black material that we have on here is the base layer that seals up the aircraft. And then later, as you can see, the rest of the aircraft around here, the coats on top are white. And those white coats will reflect the heat so it better preserves the assets all on the inside of the aircraft.
Narrator: Like the inside of this C5-A Galaxy.
Barnard: The inside of the C5 is the largest cargo aircraft in the Air Force inventory. I have deployed on these.
Narrator: One of six deployments Col. Barnard’s had to Afghanistan, New Zealand, and Antarctica.
Barnard: And we can fit three HH-60 helicopters, and a lot of our equipment that we need, as well as all our maintainers. We have just over 60 of them here. And every one of them needs 72 tie-downs. Airplanes are designed to fly, and when it gets a little breezy out here we want to make sure they stay parked.
Narrator: But not every plane just sits around collecting dust. US military units around the world can request specific parts off these planes.
Barnard: An aircraft has so many thousands of parts. Just like a reservoir keeps things in case you need them. And then we release what’s out of the reservoir as needed.
Narrator: And some of the parts the military can only find here at AMARG.
Barnard: We are that assurance that there’s a part available when the supply system main sources don’t get it. We send anywhere from 4,000 to 7,000 parts out every year to the tune of a few million dollars each week worth of supply parts.
Scott and James here are removing the engines from the back of this T-38 as a reclamation effort because these have been requested to go back into service. So once the crews reclaim the parts out in the desert and bring them into the end of this building, they get washed, they get non-destructive inspection, and they’re going to pack and ship these right out the door as fast as we can.
Narrator: But sometimes, instead of being used for parts, an entire plane will be regenerated, meaning they’ll pull it out of the desert and wash it down.
Mike Serrano: We have to remove all the coatings that are used to preserve the aircraft out in the desert.
Narrator: After getting a nice shower, it’s fixed up.
Barnard: What our team is working on here is a C-130 that’s being regenerated for foreign military sales. In this hangar, the current project that we’re working on is F-16s in post-block repair. It’s a package of structural improvements on the aircraft to extend their flyable life.
Narrator: The unit also handles aircraft modifications.
Barnard: These aircraft come from US units that are active right now. And then they get some work done on them, and they go back out to that same unit. So we’re able to upgrade those and modify them to keep them up with the current standards in the active fleet.
Narrator: Complicated individual pieces are sent to separate back shops for repair and overhaul.
Barnard: Here in the wing shop … We have all the center portions of the A-10 wings being rebuilt here. And the outer portions being rebuilt there. There’s actually hundreds of pieces inside of an aircraft wing. The complexity and the level of structure, it’s really eye-opening for many folks. Each set of wings can take up to 20,000 man hours to overhaul.
Narrator: Once parts are fixed, they go through a thorough inspection. We’re here in the non-destructive inspection area. Pete’s working on a fluorescent dye penetrant.
Pete Boveington: It’s basically a liquid that absorbs into cracks, and we can apply a black light to it. And you can see there’s a crack right here that shows up. This crack right here on this part in the landing gear could cause catastrophic failure on the landing gear.
Narrator: Not a single crack on an entire plane can get past this team.
Barnard: We have to make sure that these aircraft are safe to fly so that we protect that asset, and we protect the air crew that’s inside of that asset. So the stakes are pretty high.
Narrator: Once fixed, the planes go through a rigorous final flight test. Pilot Scott Thompson is testing these regenerated F-16s.
Lt. Col. Scott Thompson: I will take them out to the airspace just south of here. Close enough to where if I do have a problem I can get back onto the ground immediately and pretty much put them through the wringer. We test flight controls, and the handling, and the engine performance, and all the systems on the plane pretty extensively, at all altitudes.
Barnard: They go out to become full-scale aerial targets.
Narrator: That’s a happy ending for a plane pulled from the desert here at AMARG. But for other aircraft, this is the end of the line. The planes marked with a big D are destroyed by a third-party contractor.
Barnard: So these are our guys that work the demil, and they prepare aircraft for disposal. Well, and I will get out of the way of the crowbar.
Worker: I’m pretty good with this crowbar.
Barnard: I’m pretty good at destruction too, but you guys are being super careful about it, which you should be.
Narrator: The planes are demolished for good reason.
Barnard: We’ll make sure everything’s accounted for and that the materials and the technology don’t fall into the wrong hands.
Narrator: While some Americans may not have heard of AMARG, it actually saves taxpayers a lot of money.
Barnard: The assets stored here are worth somewhere between $34 billion and $35 billion. And so to make a new one may not be possible, versus to rejuvenate an old one might be the best-case scenario.
Narrator: But for the workers, it’s not just about saving the military some money. It’s also about giving these planes another life.
Thompson: A lot of these airplanes haven’t flown for a very long time. I flew a lot of them operationally back in the day. It’s great to get back in them and bring them back to life.
Barnard: These airplanes have a lot of stories to tell, and it’s wonderful to spend time with them and think about that. There are very few of us military that are lucky enough to be assigned here. It’s just a joy to be able to work with these people every day and be around these airplanes.
- Most Valentine’s Day flowers in US grocery stores come from farms in Colombia.
- Roses, daisies, and other flowers have as little as 48 hours to be cut and flown to Miami.
- In Miami, workers with Customs and Border Protection inspects the flowers for harmful bugs and diseases.
- Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.