Ice cream is one of the most popular desserts, if not the most popular, especially in the summertime when it’s warm. New data from YouGOV Omnibus shows that approximately 96% of those living in the United States eat ice cream. The amount of people who eat ice cream is a bit surprising, given how many of us are health-conscious, vegan, or can’t have any diary. With so many flavors to choose from, what do Americans prefer? The answers from a US-based survey may surprise you..
Vanilla is usually the popular choice and has long been a best-selling ice cream flavor because of its delicious and creamy nature. Not only is vanilla delicious and can stand on its own and work with a variety of toppings, but it also has the ability to go with so many treats and desserts, such as apple pie. It can also be made into a number of other desserts, such as root beer floats. However, despite the versatility of vanilla, it is no longer the most popular flavor.
Chocolate and vanilla are high on the list, with butter pecan coming in third. Chocolate doesn’t usually have the same allure as vanilla does, especially when paired with other deserts, but it is a delicious flavor and not that surprising of a choice for the top spot. Of course when it comes to age, there are quite a few differences in preferences. Those in the 18-34 year old range prefer cookies and cream and chocolate chip cookie dough, while seniors 55 and up prefer butter pecan and vanilla over other flavors in the survey.
Behind chocolate, vanilla, and butter pecan came cookies and cream and mint chocolate chip. Chocolate chip cookie dough was next. Other favorite flavors included the fruity taste of strawberry, as well as pistachio. Chocolate chip, rocky road and birthday cake/cake batter followed closely behind.
Age isn’t the only thing to influence ice cream decisions. Where people live matters as well. Those who live in the west were more than double as likely to pick rocky road as their favorite flavor. Those who live in the northeast chose mint chocolate chip more than other regions. To add to this, those who identify with the same political parties tend to like the same favorite! Republicans have more of a love for rocky road than Democrats. Take that to your next dinner for conversation.
Mint chocolate chip is one of the more diverse flavors, and its popularity comes down to race and gender. Those who are white like the flavor more than Hispanic and black people. The demographics that love mint chocolate chip the most include white females that live in the northeast, are in a domestic partnership and make over $80K a year. Butter pecan is also a divisive flavor, even though it ranks in the top three. This flavor is more popular for black people compared to Hispanic and white people. Other flavors had more even splits across demographic lines.
Forty-three percent of people like to eat their ice cream in a cone with their toppings, while the rest prefer it in a cup. When it comes to toppings, the most popular in order include hot fudge, nuts, chocolate syrup, Oreo crumbles, and sprinkles. With chocolate being the most popular flavor, some of these toppings can come as surprise with many people wanting to add some extra chocolate flavor to their cool treat. Age, race, and other demographics don’t quite play a role in topping choice as much as they do with flavor choice. More females prefer hot fudge over males, and more males prefer sprinkles over females. Females also prefer nuts and fruit more than males, and males prefer chocolate candy and Oreo crumbles more than females.
Ice cream isn’t just a summer treat for most people. About three-fourths of those surveyed say that they will eat ice cream any time during the year, regardless of weather. The rest only save ice cream for warmer weather.
Recently, there have been a lot of low-calorie alternatives available for people to try and make their desserts a little healthier. However, the majority of people, about 69%, say that they want traditional ice cream over any low-calorie alternatives. This is true no matter where they lived in the country, and both the same amount of males and females preferred low-calorie alternatives if they had a choice.
Traditional ice cream is also the popular choice when it comes to ice cream infused with alcohol. Over half of respondents say they have not yet tried it and also didn’t have an interest in trying it. Only 8% of people said they have tried this type of ice cream, while the rest said that they had yet to try it but could be interested in trying it. Males were less interested in trying alcohol infused ice cream than females, but slightly more males had tried it already.
The survey did not cover any other alternatives, including the ice cream versions that are made for those who are lactose intolerant and varieties that are made with coconut milk.
The crowds have spoken and ice cream and soft serve aren’t the same thing. A little less than 43% said they preferred scooped ice cream with only 26% saying they preferred soft serve. The remainder had no preference.
Finally, the survey didn’t take into account any specific brands of ice cream, which can sway people’s results, especially when it comes to basic flavors like vanilla and chocolate. What’s your favorite? Get the conversation started!