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These are a few of the findings from a recent survey of International Ice Cream Association member companies, which make and distribute an estimated 85 percent of the ice cream and frozen dessert products consumed in the United States. 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.
Of the companies participating in the survey, 92 percent said that vanilla is the most popular flavor among their consumers. Chocolate chip mint and cookies-and-cream ice cream tied for second place with 3.7 percent saying it was most popular.
Premium ice cream, which has a lower amount of aeration and a higher fat content than regular ice cream, is the most popular variety with consumers, according to the ice cream company survey. Nearly 70 percent cited premium ice cream as the most popular product, while 10 percent said that novelties are most popular. Novelties are defined as separately packaged single servings of a frozen dessert, such as ice cream sandwiches and fudge sticks.
While survey participants noted a strong demand for premium ice cream and novelties, 52 percent said they are seeing increased demand for frozen yogurt. Nearly 15 percent of responders said they are also seeing an increased demand for no-sugar-added ice cream.
When asked about inclusions, which are ingredients added to ice cream, the majority of companies surveyed said that pecans are the most popular nut and strawberries are the most popular fruit added to their frozen products. Sixty percent of the participating companies 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.
Approximately 1.53 billion gallons of ice cream and related frozen desserts were produced in the United States 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.
Founded in 1900, IICA is the trade association for manufacturers and distributors of ice cream and other frozen dessert products. Nearly 40 percent of IICA member companies participated in the survey. IICA is a constituent organization of IDFA.
The Washington, D.C.-based International Dairy Foods Association represents the nation’s dairy manufacturing and marketing industries and their suppliers, with a membership of 550 companies representing a $110-billion a year industry. IDFA is composed of three constituent organizations: the Milk Industry Foundation, the National Cheese Institute and the International Ice Cream Association.