What's Hot in Ice Cream
Media Contact: Peggy Armstrong
Vanilla continues to be America's flavor of choice in ice cream and novelties, in both supermarket and foodservice sales. This flavor is the most versatile, mixing well with toppings, drinks and bakery desserts. America's top five favorite individual flavors are vanilla, chocolate, cookie 'n cream, strawberry and chocolate chip mint.
However, ice cream flavors are only limited by the imagination. Manufacturers, scoop shops and chefs constantly come up with new and exciting flavors for their customers. To keep consumers looking to see what's next in the freezer case, individual processors often release limited time "seasonal" flavors, such as gingerbread, peppermint or caramel ice cream for the November/December holidays.
While the majority of ice cream sales have long been regular-fat products, ice cream manufacturers continue to diversify their lines of frozen desserts in order to fit into various lifestyles – often called "better for you" products. Consumers can find an array of frozen desserts to fit specific dietary needs or wants, such as reduced-fat, fat-free, low-carb, "no sugar added", added calcium or other nutrients, or lactose-free ice cream. Novelty/single-serving products are also an important part of this trend, as some consumers prefer the pre-packaged portion when counting calories, carbs or fat grams.
However, most consumers are looking for an indulgence when eating ice cream. Therefore, ice cream manufacturers make sure to offer a full selection of premium and superpremium products in innovative flavors and with such mix-ins as cookies, brownies, candies and cake.
Another important trend for ice cream is the continuing popularity of co-branding. Co-branding involves partnering with successful branded companion products for increased product awareness. There has been an increase in the number of new ice cream products that use ingredients from well-known candy, cookie, fruit and flavoring manufacturers. In particular, novelty manufacturers have placed a strong emphasis on co-branding with popular candy flavors. And, some ice cream manufacturers have teamed up in recent years with popular coffee and chocolate brands to create "ultrapremium" products. Market signs indicate that this trend will continue to be important in the future.