WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Despite the vast array of ice cream flavors available at retailers nationwide, it turns out that vanilla has further staked its claim as the most popular among consumers, according to this year’s survey of International Ice Cream Association (IICA) member companies, which collectively make and distribute an estimated 85 percent of the ice cream and frozen dessert products in the United States.
This marks the second consecutive year that vanilla has taken the top spot, followed by chocolate and butter pecan in second and third place, respectively. Neapolitan and Rocky Road tied for fourth.
Peggy Armstrong, vice president of communications for the Washington, D.C.-based International Dairy Foods Association -- of which the IICA is one of three constituent organizations -- chalks up consumers’ continued love of vanilla to the “rich, creaminess of a scoop of vanilla-bean premium ice cream.”
Contrary to Americans’ ever-present focus on calorie-counting, this year's IICA survey also showed that premium ice cream, which maintains a lower amount of aeration and a higher fat content than its regular counterpart, is the most popular type of ice cream among consumers. In fact, nearly 70 percent of those surveyed cited premium as the most popular.
Regular ice cream, which contains at least 10-percent milk fat, came in second and was followed by frozen novelties, separately packaged single servings of a frozen dessert such as ice cream sandwiches or fudge sticks.
Approximately 50 percent of the companies surveyed this year said they are seeing increased demand for frozen yogurt, while only 15 percent reported an increased demand for no-sugar-added ice cream.
In terms of popular ice cream “add-ons,” the majority of the IICA member companies surveyed said pecans are the most popular nut, followed by almonds and peanuts. Additionally, 86 percent said strawberry is the most popular fruit topping, with cherry trailing in second place.