Is Your Favorite Ice Cream Flavor Normal?

Originally Published: August 13, 2011
Last Updated: March 16, 2021
Ice cream balls and topping isolated on white background

Some 7 percent of Americans say they like to eat their ice cream other than in a cup, cone, sundae or sandwich. Champagne ice cream floats and on pancakes would be two alternatives.

The Global Food Forums blog intends to cover a range of thoughtful, hopefully even profound, issues of the food industry. This blog, no doubt, addresses one of the most serious topics of the day. Is Your Favorite Ice Cream Flavor Normal? What do you prefer, vanilla or chocolate ice cream?

Now you can compare yourself to other Americas. Is your favorite ice cream flavor “normal?” Or is it a bit strange?
The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) says that based on ice cream consumption figures, the top five individual flavors in terms of share of segment in the United States are vanilla (27.8 percent), chocolate (14.3 percent), strawberry (3.3 percent), chocolate chip (3.3 percent) and butter pecan (2.8 percent). Source: IDFA/The NPD Group’s National Eating Trends In-Home Database.
However, a Harris Poll of 2,183 adults surveyed online between July 11 and 18, 2011, found that 28 percent of Americans say chocolate is one of their two favorite ice cream flavors, followed by 26 percent saying vanilla and 22 percent saying cookie dough/cookies and cream.
There are differences between regions of the USA. For example, some 10 percent of Easterners say black raspberry is one of their top two favorite ice cream flavors, but only 3 percent of those in the South agreed. See the chart below for more flavors and differences between US regions.
The poll also surveyed the preferred way to eat ice cream. Some 44 percent say in a cup, 30 percent say in a cone, 16 percent say as a sundae, and 2 percent say as a sandwich. Some 7 percent say their favorite way is “something else.” I guess we can let our minds wander (and wonder) on that.
Lastly, some 52 percent of Americans say hot fudge is their favorite ice cream topping followed by nuts and caramel (38 percent each) , whipped cream (36 percent), and 31 percent say fruit. Some 19 percent expressed a preference for sprinkles, 15 percent for candy bits and 11 percent for marshmallows. Some 19 percent said they prefer to eat their ice cream plain, perhaps in a last ditch effort to control a few calories.

Favorite Ice Cream Flavor by Region of the USA
“What would you say your favorite two ice cream flavors are?”
Flavor East Midwest South West
Chocolate 31 32 28 21
Vanilla 27 22 30 22
Cookie dough/ Cookies & cream 26 22 21 19
Butter Pecan/ Swiss Almond 12 24 21 15
Mint Chocolate Chip 15 15 15 15
Strawberry 8 10 15 12
Rocky Road 8 11 8 19
Coffee 10 7 6 14
Peanut Butter 10 9 7 8
Cherry Vanilla 10 6 7 7
Pistachio 7 6 6 8
Black Raspberry 10 6 3 6
Peach 6 4 7 3
Seasonal, such as pumpkin or eggnog 4 4 5 4
Other 13 12 13 15
Do not eat ice cream 1 3 2 5
Source: The Harris Poll of 2,183 adults surveyed online between July 11 and 18, 2011 by Harris Interactive

— Claudia Dziuk O’Donnell, Co-owner, Global Food Forums, Inc.