Ice Cream Production
- Most ice cream is made March through July. July is the busiest production month for ice cream makers.
- About 6.4 billion pounds of ice cream and frozen yogurt were produced in the U.S. in 2019 (most recent data).
- The ice cream industry has a $13.1 billion impact on the U.S. economy, supports 28,800 direct jobs, and generates $1.8 billion in direct wages, according to IDFA’s Dairy Delivers®.
- 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.
Ice Cream Marketing
- Families are the primary customer group for ice cream retailers.
- Ice cream marketing is primarily done on a local or regional level.
- Two-fifths of ice cream makers are seeing an increased demand for premium ice cream versus 17 percent seeing an increase in gelato demand followed by 15 percent for sorbet. Demand for low-fat or non-fat ice cream ranked the lowest at just 4 percent.
- Ice cream makers and retailers say the Great Lakes region (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin) is the most successful ice cream market.
Ice Cream Sales
- In 2020, ice cream makers in the U.S. churned out just over 1 billion gallons of ice cream, up 6% from 2019.
- In the first five months of 2021, hard ice cream production ran 4% ahead of 2020 levels.
- Through the first six months of 2021, retail ice cream sales (grocery) continued to flex their muscle and were slightly behind (-2%) the same period from a record 2020 and well above 2019, according to IRI data.
- From March through May of 2021, sales of frozen novelties like fudgesicles and ice cream bars were running 24% ahead of the same period in 2019.
- Fortune Business Insights estimates the global ice cream market will reach $91.9 billion in 2027, up from $70.9 billion in 2019—a 30% jump in less than a decade due to the world’s craving for ice cream.
- The average American consumes approximately 23 pounds of ice cream and related frozen desserts per year.
- Regular ice cream is the most popular category of frozen desserts.
America’s top 10 favorite ice cream flavors:
- Cookies N’ Cream
- Mint Chocolate Chip
- Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough
- Buttered Pecan
- Cookie Dough
- Moose Tracks
America’s favorite novelty products are:
- Mini cups
- Sticks or pops
- Retailers say premium ice cream is most popular with their consumers, while ice cream makers say regular ice cream, usually sold in stores, is most popular with their consumers.
- Pecan is the most popular nut flavoring, and strawberry is the most popular fruit in ice cream.
- Candy and chocolate pieces are the most popular confections in ice cream.
- Waffle cones and sugar cones tie for most popular containers.