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Vanilla Trumps Chocolate As No. 1 Ice Cream Flavor

WASHINGTON—For the second year in a row, vanilla scooped the No. 1 spot as America’s favorite ice cream flavor, according to results of the second annual survey of International Ice Cream Association (IICA) member companies that make and distribute an estimated 85% of the ice cream and frozen dessert products consumed in the United States. Survey results also showed premium ice cream is a top seller, while frozen yogurt posts a steady increase in demand.

According to the companies participating in the survey, the top three flavors are vanilla, chocolate and butter pecan, with coffee, Neapolitan and Rocky Road tied for fourth place.

“From the rich, creaminess of a scoop of vanilla-bean premium ice cream to the convenience of a perfectly portion-controlled ice cream confection, our member companies are making a wide-range of flavors and product types that allow consumers to choose the treat that appeals to them," said Peggy Armstrong, vice president of communications for the International Dairy Foods Association. “Ice cream is a fun and nutritious food that fits into almost every lifestyle."

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. Nearly 70% of survey participants cited premium ice cream as the most popular product, followed by regular ice cream, which contains at least 10% milkfat, and novelties—defined as separately packaged single servings of a frozen dessert, such as ice cream sandwiches and fudge sticks.

Approximately 50% said they are seeing increased demand for frozen yogurt, and nearly 15% reported an increased demand for no-sugar-added ice cream.

The survey also about popular additions to ice cream, such as fruits, nuts, candies and other ingredients. The majority of companies said that pecans are the most popular nut, followed by almonds and peanuts. Eighty-six percent of companies said strawberry was the most popular fruit topping, with cherry coming in second.

Among companies offering novelties, the ice cream sandwich and ice-cream-on-a-stick tied as the most popular. Bars, push-ups, 4-ounce tubes and mini-cups are also popular products. For companies with dipping locations, it doesn’t matter how they serve it; cups, sugar cones and waffles cones are all popular. Hot fudge, sprinkles and nuts proved to be the most popular toppings.

Check out the ever-popular “Top Ice Cream Brands" Image Gallery on Food Product Design for an overview of the top-selling U.S. ice cream brands, complete with insight into company origins, recent new-product introductions and more. To complement it, visit the Image Gallery: Ice Cream—Summer's Dessert Headlines highlighting how big name brands, confectioners and independent shop owners are creating innovative twists on ice cream flavors and formats in order to generate buzz around their ice cream products in a highly competitive and in-demand market.

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