Scooping Out Summer Ice Cream Trends

Colorful scoops of ice cream for an article about ice cream trends, nostalgic flavors, collaborations, and ice cream-inspired products

The Big Chill – Ice Cream Trends Heat Up Summer

It’s summertime and nothing signifies summer like ice cream. I scream, you scream, we all scream for both dairy-based and plant-based ice cream. In 2020 the global market for Ice Cream was estimated to be worth $62.6 billion and is projected to reach $86.4 billion by 2027, growing at a CAGR of 4.7%, according to ResearchandMarketsa. Retail sales of plant-based ice cream and frozen novelties (for the year to Dec. 27, 2020) grew by 20.4% to $435 million, making it the fourth largest sub-category of the plant-based foods categoryb. This summer, ice cream trends are being driven by classic and nostalgic flavors, collaborations, and new ice cream-inspired products such as baked goods and chocolate.

We All Scream For Ice Cream

Comax Flavors’ primary research data on consumers’ behavior, usage, and attitudes towards dairy-based and plant-based ice cream revealed c:

  • 51% of respondents’ ice cream habits change depending on the season
  • 80% of respondents consume ice cream in the spring and summer months while 46% consume ice cream in the fall and winter months
  • “Taste” and “Flavor,” cited by 51% and 50% of respondents respectively, are the two most important attributes respondents make their dairy-based and plant-based ice cream purchases on

Dairy-Based Ice Cream Trends

According to Comax Flavors’ ice cream research:

  • Shy of three-quarters (72%) of respondents consume Vanilla/Vanilla Combinations making it the #1 flavor category among all generations
  • Chocolate/Chocolate Combinations are a close second; 64% of respondents enjoy the flavor
  • 40% of respondents eat Strawberry/Strawberry Combinations

Respondents enjoy a variety of toppings with their ice cream:

  • Hot Fudge – 34%
  • Chocolate Sauce – 33%
  • Whipped Cream – 31%
  • Cookies/Brownies – 28%
  • Caramel Sauce – 24%

This sentiment is echoed in YouGov’s 2020 survey of 20,000 Americans, which found America’s most popular ice cream flavors to be d:

  • Chocolate – 17%
  • Vanilla – 15%
  • Strawberry – 8%
  • Mint Chocolate Chip – 8%
  • Butter Pecan – 8%
  • Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough – 6%
  • Cookies n’ Cream – 6%
  • Rocky Road – 4%
  • Coffee – 4%

For ice cream toppings, Americans enjoy:

  • Hot Fudge – 31%
  • Caramel – 17%
  • Sprinkles – 8%

Comax offers a variety of classic ice cream flavors such as chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry as well as toppings like hot fudge and caramel. For more popular ice cream flavors and toppings, reach out to us here.

Plant-Based Ice Cream Trends

Comax Flavors’ ice cream research showed a variety of reasons consumers consume plant-based ice-cream:

  • Health and Wellness is the #1 reason 76% of respondents of all generations consume plant-based ice cream
  • More than a third (35%) of respondents consume plant-based ice cream because of their concerns for environmental sustainability
  • 29% of respondents cite consumption of plant-based ice cream is driven by each generations’ concern for animal welfare

Like dairy-based ice cream, respondents enjoy the same classic flavors:

  • Half of the respondents consume Chocolate/Chocolate Combinations, making it the #1 flavor category among all generations
  • Vanilla/Vanilla Combinations follow; shy of half (47%) of respondents consume the flavor
  • 44% of respondents eat Strawberry/Strawberry Combinations

The top five toppings respondents consume with their plant-based ice cream:

  • Fruit – 37%
  • Whipped Cream – 33%
  • Hot Fudge – 31%
  • Granola – 30%
  • Caramel Sauce – 29%

Comax’s ice cream flavors are suitable for plant-based applications. For inspiration, peruse our Flavor of the Month flavors and get in touch here to order a sample.

Ice Cream Collaborations

Ice cream brands are collaborating with soda, candy, and alcohol labels on nostalgic flavors. For example, Bomb Pop partnered with Keurig Dr Pepper on Bomb Pop Crush inspired by the iconic flavor of Crush soda. The tricolored and flavored Bomb Pop features grape at the top, strawberry in the middle, and orange at the bottom. For the third collaboration, Hi-Chew and Menchie’s teamed up on the Raspberry limited-edition frozen yogurt based on the popular, tart and sweet candy flavor in vibrant pink. Keebler and Girl Scouts of the USA dropped Keebler Girl Scouts Thin Mints Dipped Cones, which feature a custom dark chocolate and peppermint oil blend inspired by the recognizable Thin Mints cookie. In partnership with Tipsy Scoop, Coors Seltzer released a limited-edition orange cream pop alcohol-infused ice cream. Similarly, Dogfish teamed up with Tipsy Scoop on Hazy-O! ice cream made with oat milk while Ben & Jerry’s and 4 Pines partnered on a limited-edition Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Nitro Beer. Nick Morgenstern of Morgenstern’s Finest Ice Cream and Architect Stephanie Goto designed a limited-edition seven-course ice cream-infused omakase pairing menu featuring Dom Pérignon’s Vintage 2003 Plénitude 2 champagne. Kraft and Van Leeuwen co-branded the creation of Kraft’s signature Macaroni and Cheese flavor limited-edition ice cream.

Comax creates an assortment of nostalgic ice cream flavors such as Rainbow Sherbet, Blue Raspberry, Lemon Lime, Orange Cream Pop, and Boozy Mint Cookie. For more iconic flavors, get in touch here.

Ice Cream Inspires

Ice cream acts as a muse and inspires new products across applications including baked goods and chocolate. Insomnia Cookies launched three limited-time ice cream-inspired cookies including Cookies ‘N’Cream, Orange Creamsicle, and Rocky Road. Christina Tosi’s Milk Bar brand took their “iconic flavors like Cereal Milk, Birthday, Milk Bar Pie, and Cornflake Chocolate Chip Marshmallow, and reimagined them in ice cream form.” The line of ice cream pints is available exclusively at Whole Foods. Inspired by ice cream flavors, Hershey’s released Ice Cream Shoppe Bars in three flavors: Birthday Cake, Cookies ‘N’ Mint, and Strawberries ‘N’ Crème. Starting in August, the Museum of Ice Cream will roll out its interactive and immersive experience in Austin, Texas. Supermodel Tyra Banks dropped super-premium ice cream brand SMiZE and opened its first ice cream shop in Los Angeles, CA. Made with frozen custard, each of the seven flavors contain “a yummy SMiZE Surprize hidden inside – a huge chunkalicious cookie dough truffle.” Chocolate Barbeque, Purple Cookie Mon-STAR & Me, Strawberry BirthYAY! Cake, and The Best Vanilla I Ever Had are a few of the flavors.

July is National Ice Cream Month and National Ice Cream Day is celebrated on the third Sunday in July. Get ready to celebrate and eat your favorite ice cream on July 18th!  Looking for a specific ice cream flavor? Comax develops craveable, customized flavors and customized solutions across a variety of applications including dairy and plant-based ice cream, baked goods, and confections. Reach out to us.




c N=1,000, Comax Ice Cream Product Study January 2019; Ice Cream and Ice Cream Novelties N=500, Plant-Based Ice Cream and Plant-Based Ice Cream Novelties N=500