Special Report

America’s Favorite Ice Cream Flavor Is...

According to the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA), in a report on ice cream sales and trends in the U.S., America’s favorite ice cream flavor is vanilla, followed (in this order) by chocolate, cookies n’ cream, mint chocolate chip, chocolate chip cookie dough, buttered pecan, cookie dough, strawberry, Moose Tracks, and neapolitan. (Moose Tracks is a branded flavor made by Michigan-based Denali Flavors, consisting of vanilla ice with peanut butter cups and fudge mixed in.)

The IDFA offers no information about the source of its ranking. The software company WorkWise, on the other hand, also offers a list of the country’s favorite ice creams, drawing their information from state-by-state Google search volume for various ice cream flavors. 

The Google results switch things up a little. According to this data, the flavor people seek information on the most often (it ranks number one in 14 states) is cookies and cream — as this list spells it — with vanilla in second place. Chocolate, peppermint, and strawberry are tied for third. Then come 15 other flavors tied for fourth place, each representing a single state. 

A few curiosities: Connecticut’s number-one search was for beer ice cream (!); Pennsylvanians wanted to know about teaberry (a minty-flavored fruit popular in the Keystone State); in Virginia, the choice was tiger tail — orange ice with swirls of licorice. All these are currently being made by various producers, so don’t qualify as being among the ice cream flavors we wish would come back.

While its ranking was a little less surprising than WorkWise’s, the IDFA also offered some other information about everybody’s favorite frozen dessert: About 1.54 billion gallons of ice cream and related items were produced in the U.S. in 2015 (the most recent year for which data is available). The majority of ice cream and frozen dessert companies are more than 50 years old, and many are family-owned. June and July are the busiest months for ice cream production. 

The organization also reports that the average American consumes more than 23 pounds (slightly less than five gallons) of ice cream a year. That’s a lot of vanilla. Or is it cookies and cream? Whatever is your favorite flavor you will most likely find it at the most popular ice cream shop in every state.