America’s Top Ice Cream Flavors May Surprise You

Well, the results are in. And my middle name is not Kaiser Permanente so no need to worry—I’m not talking about medical results. I am talking about ice cream. Just last week, the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) and Research America, Inc. released the official results of a survey about frozen dessert trends in the U.S. (mmmmm, that’s my kind of survey), and the results may surprise you. 

Just in time for National Ice Cream Month in July (which I will be observing thank you very much), this survey includes results from retail ice cream companies (the grocery store stuff), scoop shops (Baskin-Robbins and the like), and ice cream consumers (me, Jessica Block, for instance). What’s interesting is that the most liked flavors among consumers did not match the most sold flavors of retail brands and scoop shops. Something about this smells phishy.  

Here are the rankings:

Top five flavors among consumers

  1. Chocolate
  2. Cookies N’ Cream
  3. Vanilla
  4. Strawberry
  5. Chocolate Chip

Top five flavors among retail brands and scoop shops

  1. Cookies N’ Cream
  2. Vanilla
  3. Chocolate
  4. Mint Chocolate Chip
  5. Strawberry

But why? Gosh darn it, if I don’t use my minor in Psychology now, I don’t know if I ever will. So here goes: I hypothesize that chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry ranked so highly among consumers because if someone asks your favorite ice cream flavor and you aren’t prepared, you’re likely to blurt out one of those three. And maybe people are more likely to say chocolate than vanilla out of fear of being seen as boring. Cookies n’ cream in the #2 spot I can’t explain. And maybe chocolate chip is #5 is because people wanted to say vanilla but were scared so they added chocolate chips to avoid being mocked for their Plain Jane choice. (Nothing against vanilla, by the way—I think it’s actually such a great and complex flavor, but people tend to shy away from admitting that publicly.)

And now let’s talk about the retail results. I still can’t explain cookies n’ cream (I’m going to need a PhD in Psychology for that one). But vanilla surpassing chocolate makes sense here, since it goes with cake and pie. Chocolate, strawberry, and vanilla are the three most common flavors bought for large parties, I would bet. And mint chocolate chip is just unequivocally the best ice cream flavor, so I understand why it’s on that list, in my (totally unbiased) opinion. Thank you for coming to my TED talk!

About the Author

Jessica Block

Jessica Block is a freelance contributor to Sporked, a comedian, a baker, a food writer, and a firm believer that Trader Joe's may just be the happiest place on earth. She loves spicy snacks, Oreos, baking bread, teeny tiny avocados, and trying new foods whenever she can. Also, if you give her a bag of Takis she will be your best friend.

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