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NEW YORK — As much of the nation chugs along under the summer's heat dome, U.S. consumers are turning to ice cream to cool off — but not just any ice cream.
While the summer season has led to an uptick in traditional ice cream sales, new data released by The Nielsen Co. reveals that frozen custard and non-dairy ice cream are driving much more significant growth within the overall ice cream category.
Consumers also favor locally made ice cream products. Notably, 36 percent of American consumers who purchase ice cream say they prefer to buy a local brand, compared to 31 percent who have a preference for global brands.
The country's ice cream market has experienced continued growth over the past four years, despite dairy milk sales being down in the United States at the same time. For the 52 weeks ended May 28 of this year, Americans had spent almost $6.5 billion on ice cream.
"Whether it’s a classic vanilla cone, an over-the-top milkshake or an old-fashioned sundae, there’s always a reason for consumers to indulge in the summer heat. Retailers looking to capitalize on consumers’ sweet tooth would be wise to stock their freezers with local ice cream products to satisfy their cravings," Nielsen stated.