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Dairy Facts 2016

Ice Cream Sales & Trends

Just the Facts


  • About 1.54 billion gallons of ice cream and related frozen desserts were produced in the U.S. in 2015.
  • 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 ice cream industry in the United States contributes more than $39.0 billion to the national economy and creates more than 188,000 jobs in communities across the country.


Production and Marketing

  • 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.*
  • 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.



  • The average American consumes more than 23 pounds of ice cream per year.
  • Regular ice cream is the most popular category of frozen desserts and U.S. ice cream companies made more than 898 million gallons of regular ice cream in 2015.
  • The production of low-fat ice cream, the second most popular category, increased by 20 million gallons in 2015.
  • Hard frozen dairy desserts accounted for almost 75 percent of all frozen dairy products made in 2015.

*  Source: IDFA ice cream company survey, 2012

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