Survey: Vanilla Top Ice Cream Flavor In U.S.

July 31, 2013

Results from the second annual survey of the International Ice Cream Association (IICA) member companies show vanilla wins the popular vote among Americans as the favorite ice cream flavor for a second year in a row, and premium ice cream is a top seller while frozen yogurt posts a steady increase in demand. The IICA member companies make and distribute an estimated 85 percent of the ice cream and frozen dessert products consumed in the U.S.

According to the companies participating in the survey, the top three flavors are vanilla, chocolate and butter pecan, with coffee, Neapolitan and Rocky Road tied for fourth place.

"From the rich, creaminess of a scoop of vanilla-bean premium ice cream to the convenience of a perfectly portion-controlled ice cream confection, our member companies are making a wide-range of flavors and product types that allow consumers to choose the treat that appeals to them," said Peggy Armstrong, vice president of communications for the International Dairy Foods Association, in a prepared statement. "Ice cream is a fun and nutritious food that fits into almost every lifestyle."

Premium ice cream, which has a lower amount of aeration and a higher fat content than regular ice cream, is the most popular variety with consumers, according to the survey. Nearly 70 percent cited premium ice cream as the most popular product, followed by regular ice cream, which contains at least 10 percent milkfat, and novelties. Novelties are defined as separately packaged single servings of a frozen dessert, such as ice cream sandwiches and fudge sticks.

In addition, approximately 50 percent said they are seeing increased demand for frozen yogurt, and nearly 15 percent reported an increased demand for no-sugar-added ice cream.

In addition to flavors, the survey also asked about popular additions to ice cream, such as fruits, nuts, candies and other ingredients. The majority of companies said that pecans are the most popular nut, followed by almonds and peanuts. Eighty-six percent of companies said that strawberry was the most popular fruit topping, with cherry coming in second.

Among companies offering novelties, the ice cream sandwich and ice-cream-on-a-stick tied as the most popular. Bars, push-ups, four-ounce tubes and mini-cups are also popular products, according to the survey. For companies with dipping locations, it doesn't matter how they serve it; cups, sugar cones and waffles cones are all popular. Hot fudge, sprinkles and nuts proved to be the most popular toppings.