When it comes to ice cream, it seems consumers are pretty vanilla.
That is, in a survey of ice cream and frozen dessert makers by the International Ice Cream Association (IICA) released this week, 92 per cent of participating companies in the United States named vanilla as the most popular flavour among consumers, followed by chocolate chip mint and cookies-and-cream.
Among ice cream ingredients, pecans topped the nut category, while strawberry remains the most popular fruit followed by cherry and raspberry.
While Western consumers may favour vanilla, in Peru an ice cream based on lucuma, a tropical South American fruit described as a mix of sweet potatoes, maple and caramel, is wildly popular.
In Asia, flavours like red bean, black sesame and green tea are common.
Consumers are also treating themselves to the fancy stuff, as 70 percent of producers named premium lines as the most popular product. Premium ice cream is described as having a lower amount of aeration and higher fat content such as Häagen-Dazs and Ben & Jerry’s.
Meanwhile, 10 per cent of companies named novelty products like ice cream sandwiches and fudge sticks as their most popular products.
According to figures from the IICA, 1.53 billion gallons of ice cream and other frozen desserts were produced last year — a US$10 billion (approximately S$12.8 billion) business.
The report found that frozen yogurt is likewise becoming increasingly popular, as more than half or 52 per cent of companies said that they’re seeing rising demand for the healthier version of ice cream.
This year, the popularity of Greek yogurt — a denser, thicker version — has spilled over into the frozen foods section with brands like Ben & Jerry’s, Stoneyfield and Yasso putting frozen yogurt on ice.
15 per cent of manufacturers surveyed said they’re also seeing a rise in interest for no-sugar-added products.
The International Ice Cream Association (IICA) association is made up of 550 dairy companies, 67 per cent of which export products around the world to Latin America, China, Europe, the Caribbean and Mexico. Data for the survey was compiled with the participation of 40 per cent of members.
The survey comes in advance of National Ice Cream Month in July, a holiday created by former US President Ronald Reagan in 1984.
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