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Ice Cream Sales & Trends


Just the Facts


  • About 1.53 billion gallons of ice cream and related frozen desserts were produced in the U.S. in 2013. Sales of ice cream and frozen desserts rose 2.1 percent to $5.4 billion in the 52 weeks ended August 10, 2014, according to data from IRI, Chicago. Ice cream production reached 894 million gallons in 2012 and 897 million gallons in 2013, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. (Source: Dairy Foods magazine)

    The majority of U.S. ice cream and frozen dessert manufacturers have been in business for more than 50 years and many are still family-owned businesses.


  • The average American consumes almost 22 pounds of ice cream per year. U.S. ice cream companies made more than 872 million gallons of ice cream in 2014. 

  • Frozen dairy production follows a clear seasonal pattern. Summer is the unchallenged season for eating ice cream and other related products. Production kicks up in March and April to fill retail and foodservice pipelines in the late spring and early summer. June is the highest production month of the year, but production remains strong through August to satisfy summer demand. Production declines through the end of the year.


  • According to a recent survey of International Ice Cream Association member companies, vanilla remains the most popular flavor among their consumers. Companies said that Chocolate Chip Mint and Cookies and Cream were the next most popular flavors. Source: IDFA ice cream company survey, 2012
  • The majority of ice cream and frozen desserts are marketed regionally. More than 66.7 percent of U.S. ice cream and frozen dessert manufacturers say they market their products regionally, with 16 percent marketing nationally. The international market accounts for 10 percent of the market for U.S. companies. Source: IDFA ice cream company survey, 2012
  • The ice cream companies that market products around the world identify Asia, the Caribbean, Mexico and Latin America as importers. Source: IDFA ice cream company survey, 2012
  • Premium ice cream, which tends to have lower amount of aeration and higher fat content than regular ice cream, is the most popular product with consumers according to a recent survey of U.S. ice cream manufacturers. In the survey, 79.3 percent cited premium ice cream as the most popular product made while 10 percent said that novelties are most popular.  Novelties are defined as separately packaged single servings of a frozen dessert –  such as ice cream sandwiches and fudge sticks. Source: IDFA ice cream company survey, 2012