There’s no denying that Americans and ice cream are a match made in food heaven. Just how much do we love this cold, creamy treat? To the tune of more than 40 pounds of ice cream each every year, according to figures from City A.M.
In fact, Americans out-eat other top-finishing countries in terms of ice cream consumption by nearly twice as much! (Australia finishes a distant second with 22 pounds per capita annually; followed by Norway at 21 pounds, Sweden at 20 pounds, and South Korea at 18.5 pounds.)
But knowing how much ice cream Americans eat is only part of the big picture. Also of interest? Which flavors top the list when it comes to tempting our taste buds. Let’s take a closer look.
Does Chocolate Reign Supreme?
Cake versus pie. Chunky versus smooth. Crispy versus chewy. These are among some of the food kingdom’s most time-tested flavor face-offs. But perhaps the one that trumps them all is the classic contest of chocolate versus vanilla.
And while most people’s preferences clearly lean one way or another, the answer to the question of which flavor is conclusively the victor is not so straightforward.
In fact, research indicates that it depends on who you ask.
In a Statista survey of American’s favorite ice cream flavors, for example, chocolate was conclusive winner claiming 16 percent of the vote.
Perhaps most shockingly, however, is the fact that vanilla was ousted from the number two spot by comparative newcomer cookies and cream, which claimed 13 percent of the vote.
Vanilla did manage to eek into the top three with 12 percent of the vote, with the top five rounded out by cookie dough and mint chocolate chip with 11 percent each.
Strawberry claimed the sixth place spot with 9 percent of the votes, followed by butter pecan (8 percent), rocky road (6 percent), and coffee (6 percent). “Other” meanwhile, made off with an impressive 7 percent of the vote.
Or Does Victory Lie With Vanilla?
However, an annual survey of International Ice Cream Association (IICA) members conducted by the International Dairy Foods Association paints a very different picture.
According to these findings, vanilla beat out chocolate for the title of “favorite ice cream flavor,” with butter pecan taking home third place and Neapolitan and Rocky Road tying for fourth.
This survey also drilled down to reveal other preferences when it comes to American ice cream consumption, concluding that when it comes to mixing up flavors in their ice cream selections, Americans prefer pecans and strawberries for fruits and nuts, respectively.
One area where American tastes weren’t so discriminating, according to this survey? How it’s scooped. Cones and cups were enjoyed in equal measure (although we’d argue that ice cream looks and tastes particularly delicious when its presented in classic parfait form).
Meanwhile, Americans were also open to ice cream novelty options, including everything from sandwiches to “on a stick” presentations.
Thinking Outside the Carton
While you can’t go wrong with vanilla or chocolate, there’s something tasty to be said for thinking outside the conventional carton every now and then. Which is what makes the Cooking Channel’s roundup of unique ice cream flavors and recipes so fun.
From camping-themed concoctions like Sweet Actions’ Trail Mix Ice Cream to Michael Symon’s Sweet Corn Ice Cream, Salty Popped Corn and Caramel-Candied Bacon creation, the pairings are unexpectedly intriguing. And those are just a few.
Everything from cilantro lime and curry to honey-rhubarb and olive oil can and does make it into today’s ice cream flavors. And while these may not be familiar flavors when served up in a cup or cone, they sure keep ice cream exciting for even the most adventurous and sophisticated palates.
The best part of this increasing abundance of ice creamy goodness? Whether you stick with tried-and-true vanilla or chocolate or try something wacky, wild and (hopefully) wonderful, one thing’s for certain: there are endless opportunities to indulge.