Ice Cream Flavour Trends

July 04th 2018

Ice Cream Flavour Trends

Ice Cream Flavour Trends


There’s never really a bad time to eat ice cream, but there’s something just so right about a frozen treat during a summer scorcher in Canada. Is there anything else that brings people together, or conjures up the best memories and emotions quite like a cone in your hand? Maybe that’s why the forecasted retail sales of ice cream in this country will approach $2B USD in 2018.

It’s time to examine the trends, find out what Canadian ice cream consumers are after, and talk about taste. End goal: cream the competition.

Before we get to the flavour trends, let’s take a second to examine the sales trends. As we already shared, Canadians are ready to shell out nearly $2B on ice cream this year. This despite the fact per capita consumption has been in a gradual decline since 2005. So what’s going on?

Part of it is a trend toward premium ice creams that cost more. 38% of boomers and 30% of millennials say they’re ok with paying a bit more to eat better quality ice cream and frozen desserts. About ¼ of both groups are also cool with spending extra on ice cream made with natural ingredients. Apparently, less is more, at least when it comes to artificial ingredients.

Traditional and trendy

When it comes to flavour, Canadians still lean towards the traditional favourites: chocolate-based ice creams lead the way, and vanilla isn’t far behind. Together, the two account for more than half of our favourite flavours.

Having said that, nearly half of Canadians 18-34 are interested in trying new and different flavours. That means you could start with a chocolate or vanilla base, and then add in exciting and exotic new ingredients to create something unique. That philosophy jibes well with the fact 40% of Canadians base ice cream purchase decisions on flavour combinations.

Anything goes in a cone!

So what’s trending now in ice cream? Here’s a quick look at what’s hot in being cool!

  • Mochi - Japanese-style ice cream bites wrapped in sweet, chewy rice dough

  • Minimally processed ice cream and frozen treats with less sugar and no artificial ingredients

  • Alcohol flavourings (Triple Berry Sangria, Spiced Rum & Orange, Limoncello & Lemon Thyme)

  • Non-dairy, plant-based ice cream made from soy, almond, avocado, coconut, etc.

  • Gourmet gelato flavours like Peruvian pepper & lime, honey lemongrass, and ginger & coconut

  • Unique soft serve flavours and organic ingredients - Ube (purple yam) and black sesame make the list; or what about French’s Ketchup ice cream for creating a buzz?

The ice cream market is a flavour scientist’s dream right now, with such high demand for inventive and delicious ingredient combinations. The world really is your oyster when it comes to ice cream. Hmm… oyster and hot sauce ice cream?

While that combo might seem a little outlandish, there’s definitely room for creativity. We’ve seen lavender and other botanicals, spices, exotic fruits - even dill pickle!

Consider your presentation, too. As the mochi trend proves, there is an opportunity to transition ice cream from just an after-dinner dessert to an anytime snack. Think outside the tub about creative ways to portion and serve your premium frozen treat.

Lick before you leap

And if you’re not sure you want to go all in on a flavour, consider doing a trial run. In marketing terms, you’d call that a ‘Limited Edition’. Consumers love to try things they perceive as being in short supply and/or high demand. According to a survey, 39% of 18-34s are interested in trying limited edition ice creams.

Between our incredible worldwide access to the best ingredients, including organics, and natural flavours and colours, and our expertise at flavouring dairy, we are definitely your go-to source for creating something truly special. You could say we have the inside ‘scoop’ on ice cream!