Consumer demand for ice cream never seems to cool down. Summer may be the season when it’s an especially hot seller, but the perennial favorite seems to scoop up tons of business all year round.
According to the market research firm Technomic, today’s consumers satisfy their ice cream hankerings throughout the year with a wide variety of flavors, from the familiar to the fanciful.1 To avoid being frozen out of ice cream’s sweet profit potential, foodservice operators may want to stay on top of the latest flavor trends.
Classics continue to bowl over consumers, with survey results showing that vanilla is the number one ice cream flavor, closely followed by chocolate.1 Strawberry dips into third place, with banana and fudge rounding out the top five.1
Exotic taste adventures, especially fruit and alcohol-infused varieties, are packing ‘em in as the fastest-growing flavors. Technomic has tracked year-over-year menu gains for guava (73%) and limoncello (67%).1 Other flavors that posted significant growth include sea salt (27%) and spiced ice creams (42%).1
Flavor variations that provide a twist on the tried and true are also trending. Riffs on chocolate are a case in point—varieties that are increasing on menus include triple chocolate (21%), red velvet (15%) and s’mores (14%).1
What’s more, women surveyed were more likely than men to prefer traditional flavors including vanilla, strawberry and caramel, while younger consumers gravitate to rich flavors such as cookie dough and cheesecake.1
Breaking the Ice: Fun Frozen Treats Crack Open the Global Market
On a global scale, fun flavors that transcend the traditional are getting in their licks. Survey results from the international market intelligence and advisory firm Mintel show that 55% of Brazilian consumers have tried frozen fruit creams such as açaí and pitaya, with the majority interested in buying them again.2
The Asia-Pacific region has also been churning out new flavor combos, including chili crab ice cream and blue cheese ice cream, which have become go-to frozen treats for consumers there.2 Bubble waffles packed with ice cream originated as a street snack in Hong Kong and became an Instagram sensation in the U.S., where it now serves up an example of an Asian taste trend transplanted with scrumptious success to the States. Our recipe for Bubble Waffle Ice Cream Cone Made with OREO Cookie Pieces takes the trend to another level.
Meanwhile, in Australia, a combination of sweet and sour flavors known as “swavoury” has become a favorite flavor innovation.2 In the United States, the popularity of salted caramel points the way for more flavor profiles with contrasting tastes.
Hot Ideas for Ice Cream Dessert Menu Innovation
At the International Dairy Food Association’s annual Ice Cream Technology conference last April, judges for the event’s flavor competition found fun and fruity varieties especially cool. Brazilian guava cheesecake, spicy mango raspberry and pomegranate sweet potato were among the flavor innovations to take top honors.3
“Fruit was the name of the game in this year’s innovative ice cream flavor competition,” said Cary Frye, senior vice president of regulatory affairs for the International Dairy Foods Association. “Contestants showed off their expert ability to pair fresh, tropical fruits with almost anything, including spices, vegetables and decadent deserts. Ice creams featuring cookie doughs and butters, as well as salty nuts, were also highly favored flavors in this year’s lineup.”3
Mondelēz International offers a mouthwatering mix of inventive recipes for ice cream desserts in our Culinary Center. For frozen treat solutions customized to the needs of your foodservice operation, leave us a note below.
1 Cobe, Patricia, The Scoop on Today’s Ice Cream Trends, Restaurant Business, July 23, 2018
2 Hosch, Alexis, The State of the Global Ice Cream Market, Kerry, Aug. 13, 2018
3 Food Processing, Product Focus: Ice Cream Flavor Trends, July 17, 2018