Summer is here and National Ice Cream Day is around the corner… So that means it’s socially acceptable to have a dozen ice cream cones a day! Right???

Seasonality and LTOs Drive Interest

A lot is happening in the ice cream space right now, and I couldn’t be more excited for it! The biggest driving force behind ice cream innovation is seasonality and limited time offerings. Brands are releasing flavors for a limited time that usually reflect the season of the year we’re in, and consumers are going crazy for them! In the winter, we might see more warm flavors like red velvet, toffee, snickerdoodle, and cinnamon. While in the summer we see more flavors like s’mores, cookies and cream, cookie dough, and pineapple.

What’s New in Ice Cream?

With functional snacking on the rise, ice cream is seeing an increase in plant-based products and non-dairy alternatives. Remember when soy was the only option for lactose intolerant or vegan consumers? It wasn’t that long ago, really. Now there are whole sections of frozen dessert aisles dedicated to non-dairy offerings. Coconut and almond milk have made their mark but look for cashew, oat, pecan, and even sesame milk to appear on shelves. On the flip side, the non-dairy space is growing so fast, that it does risks oversaturation.

With all of this new and exciting innovation trending, I made it my responsibility to try 8 different ice creams that represented something different we’re seeing in the market- you’re welcome!!!!

I had to refrain myself from finishing all 8 pints, but I’m learning self control. However, I think these are all great examples of what we see happening in the market. Unique and unexpected flavors are working, especially for adult palettes, as consumers look for the same unique flavors found in ice cream shops. While these newer flavors might be unconventional, it’s important to note that these brands are not alienating core, less adventurous audiences like kids.

Think Outside the “Cone”

adding scoops of vanilla to a cone

It’s time to look beyond chocolate, vanilla, and caramel! Ice cream is an acceptable category to think outside the box about flavor. While consumers are already indulging in a treat, they’re more likely to indulge in a new, fun flavor. Take inspiration from beverages (alcohol, lemonade, etc), other desserts (cheesecake, strawberry shortcake, etc), and licensed co-branding opportunities.

So I hope some of these flavors inspired you to go to your local grocery store and try a flavor you might not typically purchase- you might be pleasantly surprised!

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