Ice Cream Sales & Trends


America’s top 10 favorite ice cream flavors:

  • Vanilla
  • Chocolate
  • Cookies N’ Cream
  • Mint Chocolate Chip
  • Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough
  • Buttered Pecan
  • Cookie Dough
  • Strawberry
  • Moose Tracks
  • Neapolitan

America’s favorite novelty products are:

  • Sandwiches
  • Mini cups
  • Sticks or pops
  • Cones
  • Bars
  • Retailers say premium ice cream is most popular with their consumers, while ice cream makers say regular ice cream, usually sold in stores, is most popular with their consumers.
  • Pecan is the most popular nut flavoring, and strawberry is the most popular fruit in ice cream.
  • Candy and chocolate pieces are the most popular confections in ice cream.
  • Waffle cones and sugar cones tie for most popular containers.

Ice Cream Production

  • Most ice cream is made March through July. July is the busiest production month for ice cream makers.
  • About 1.4 billion gallons of ice cream and related frozen desserts were produced in the U.S. in 2017 (most recent data).
  • Ice cream is an $11 billion industry that supports 26,000 direct jobs and generates $1.6 billion in direct wages, according to IDFA’s Dairy Delivers®.
  • The majority of U.S. ice cream and frozen dessert manufacturers have been in business for more than 50 years and many are still family-owned businesses.

Ice Cream Marketing

  • Families are the primary customer group for ice cream retailers.
  • Ice cream marketing is primarily done on a local or regional level.
  • Two-fifths of ice cream makers are seeing an increased demand for premium ice cream versus 17 percent seeing an increase in gelato demand followed by 15 percent for sorbet. Demand for low-fat or non-fat ice cream ranked the lowest at just 4 percent.
  • Ice cream makers and retailers say the Great Lakes region (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin) is the most successful ice cream market. 


  • The average American consumes more than 23 pounds of ice cream per year.
  • Regular ice cream is the most popular category of frozen desserts.