Survey highlights trends in ice cream category

by Eric Schroeder
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WASHINGTON — Vanilla is the most popular ice cream flavor, strawberry the most popular fruit topping and premium ice cream the best-selling type of ice cream, according to a recent survey of member companies of the International Ice Cream Association (I.I.C.A.). The association is responsible for making and distributing about 85% of the ice cream and frozen dessert products consumed in the United States.

Ninety-two per cent of the companies surveyed said vanilla is the most popular flavor among their consumers, with chocolate chip mint and cookies and cream ice cream tied for second place at 3.7%.
When it comes to what type of ice cream consumers prefer, the survey found 70% want premium ice cream, while 10% said novelties are most popular. Novelties were defined as separately packaged single servings of a frozen dessert, such as ice cream sandwiches and fudge sticks. Among novelties, the ice cream sandwich is most widely made, with 91% of participating companies making and marketing ice cream sandwiches. Nearly 75% of the companies responding offer an ice cream cone novelty.

Consumers also are seeking out frozen yogurt. The survey found 52% of companies are seeing increased demand for frozen yogurt. Nearly 15% of responders said they also are seeing an increased demand for no-sugar-added ice cream.

Pecans, at 60%, were the most popular nut inclusion added to ice cream, followed by peanuts (32%), while the most popular fruit added was strawberry, followed by cherry and raspberries at 12% each. Strawberries were named as the top fruit by more than three-quarters of the member companies, the survey said.

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