WASHINGTON — While vanilla ice cream continues to reign as America’s favorite ice cream flavor, we really prefer the dark side.
Chocolate-filled flavors dominated the top five bestselling flavors in a recent survey of ice cream makers and retailers across the United States conducted by the International Dairy Foods Association.
The survey kicked off National Ice Cream Month, which runs throughout July.
According to the survey, America’s top five flavors are: vanilla, chocolate, cookies ‘n’ cream, mint chocolate chip and chocolate chip cookie dough.
Vanilla has long been the best-selling ice cream flavor because it’s served both solo and with so many other desserts, said Cary Frye, association vice president of regulatory and scientific affairs.
“It tastes great topped by whipped cream and fudge sauce in a sundae, with root beer in a float or atop a warm slice of apple pie.”
When asked to name their most daring and creative flavors, the respondents listed less traditional options including lemon poppyseed muffin, black sesame and a bourbon- and caffeine-spiked concoction called Exhausted Parent.
The real scoop
From neighborhood scoop shops to national brands, the ice cream industry in the United States contributes more than $39 billion to the national economy and creates more than 188,000 jobs nationally.
The Great Lakes region of the United States in particular, which includes Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin, is a hot spot for the chilled treat. For respondents who market their products regionally, the area earned the top spot for the most successful and the most served market.
A la mode
When asked about ingredients added to ice cream, the majority of those surveyed said that pecans are the most popular nut or nut flavoring, while strawberries are the most popular fruit added to their frozen treats.
Waffle cones and sugar cones were voted as equally popular containers with consumers, while ice cream sandwiches came out on top as America’s favorite novelty product.
Respondents voted the ice cream sandwich as their best-selling novelty over ice cream cups, pops, cones and bars respectively.
Ice cream month
In 1984, President Ronald Reagan designated July as National Ice Cream Month and the third Sunday of the month as National Ice Cream Day.
He recognized ice cream as a fun and nutritious food that is enjoyed by a full 90 percent of the nation’s population. In the proclamation, President Reagan called for all people of the United States to observe these events with “appropriate ceremonies and activities.”