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, cookies 'n cream, mint chocolate chip and chocolate chip cookie dough.
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, Sweet Me Strawberry Rhubarb Cobbler Ice Cream, Honey Roasted Peanut Butter Ice Cream and Cool Mint Sandwiches were named the most innovative ice cream products at the International Dairy Foods Association's annual Innovative Ice Cream Flavor Competition in 2017. Unusual smoky and spicy flavors also made a splash in the competition along with creative takes on caffeinated drink favorites like coffee and tea.”
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.