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. For example, German Chocolate Cake, Black Raspberry Krunch Sundae and Hawaiian Wedding Cake Ice Cream were named the most innovative ice cream flavors for 2015 at the International Dairy Foods Association's Innovative Ice Cream Flavor Competition. Berries, especially raspberries, made a strong showing in the competition. Also rising to the top were inspirations from the bakery counter that included the crunchiness or chewiness that we associate with many of our favorite baked goods including streusel, waffles, biscotti, cakes and cookies. Familiar beverage flavors of lemonade, sweet tea and hot chocolate debuted in sorbet and ice creams.
To keep consumers looking to see what's next in the freezer case, individual ice cream makers often release limited time "seasonal" flavors, such as gingerbread and peppermint for the holidays. Strawberry, vanilla and blueberry scoops create a patriotic treat for the 4th of July.
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 super-premium products in innovative flavors and with such mix-ins as cookies, brownies, candies and cake.