Ice cream month is here

In 1984, President Ronald Reagan designated July as National Ice Cream Month and the third Sunday of the month as National Ice Cream Day. Approximately 1.53 billion gallons of ice cream and related frozen desserts were produced in the U.S. in 2011. The U.S. ice cream industry generated total revenues of $10 billion in 2010. Take-home ice cream sales represented the largest section of the market, generating revenues of $6.8 billion or 67.7 percent of the market's overall value, according to a recent study by MarketLine, an Informa business.


Vanilla is the most popular ice cream flavor (92 percent), followed by Chocolate Chip Mint and Cookies-and-Cream ice cream, which tied for second place with 3.7 percent saying it was most popular, according to a recent survey from the International Ice Cream Association (IICA) member companies, which make and distribute an estimated 85 percent of the ice cream and frozen dessert products consumed in the U.S. IICA and the International Dairy Foods Association, its umbrella organization, announced the results of the survey at the recent 30th annual Capitol Hill Ice Cream Party, the official launch of National Ice Cream Month, which runs throughout the month of July.


Premium ice cream, which has a higher fat content than regular ice cream, is the most popular variety (nearly 70 percent) with consumers, according to survey.  Frozen yogurt (52 percent) is resurging in popularity among Americans, while 10 percent said that novelties, defined as separately packaged single servings of a frozen dessert, such as ice cream sandwiches and fudge sticks, are most popular. And nearly 15 percent said they are also seeing an increased demand for no-sugar-added ice cream.


When asked about inclusions, 60 percent named pecans most popular, and 32 percent cited peanuts as most popular with their consumers. More than three-quarters of respondents named strawberries as the top fruit, while 12 percent said cherry and another 12 percent named raspberries as the favorite fruit inclusion.


Among novelties, the ice cream sandwich is most widely made; 91 percent of participating companies make and market ice cream sandwiches. Nearly 75 percent of the companies responding offer an ice cream cone novelty. Bars, sticks and mini-cups are also popular products, according to the survey, which allowed for more than one response in this category.