It’s late summer, and there’s no better way to beat the heat than by reaching for a frozen treat. Despite healthy eating trends seemingly running the food show, Mintel reports indulgent frozen treats (namely ice cream), are doing well, save for frozen yogurt, sherbet, “other” ice cream (such as Italian ice), frozen custard, and ice milk, which all saw sales decline. An expansive variety of interesting flavors, low-sugar/low-calorie products, and growth of non-dairy products (vegan ice cream varieties have seen the highest sales growth) are keeping the category interesting. Here are some frozen treats and ice cream trends outside of the category we’re going to keep an eye on as they move from niche to mainstream offering.
Asian flavors are super on-trend: matcha, black sesame, green tea, and red bean paste. Main entrée flavors are also becoming more popular: lobster flavored ice cream, and savory food flavored like Everything Bagel, Pizza and Cucumber Dill. Cereal ice cream bars are a definite thing, and turmeric has even made it its way to ice cream.
As the New York Times recently pointed out, ice cream is the perfect vehicle for Instagram-able moments. Check out churro ice cream sandwiches, macaron ice cream sandwiches, waffle cookie ice cream tacos, and puffed waffle cones from Eggloo for some inspiration.
If you’re looking for an experience, Thai rolled ice cream is as beautiful to watch as it is to eat, and Japanese mochi creates a completely new eating experience. Turning ice cream’s usually lovely bright pop-y colors on its head is “Goth” ice cream, a personal favorite, that creates the ultimate disconnect between flavor and color. Or it can be all about the cone: Taiyaki in NYC loads its ice cream in fish shaped cones, or you can dish up in a waffleshot at home.
Brands like Halo Top, Arctic Zero and Enlightened have positioned themselves as the “healthy” ice cream. Low in calories and sugar (so much so you might eat the whole pint), with attractive branding that’s suggestive of a more indulgent product, that they are not a sad diet “frozen dessert.” Some of these companies, like Snow Monkey, have infused their ice creams with protein and other nutrients. This brand positions itself as superfood ice treat that’s good for breakfast, capitalizing on a study that says ice cream for breakfast helps your brain. Its Goji Berry variety boasts antioxidants, potassium and vitamin C.
Even farther out on the horizon, is conscientious ice cream. Taking a page from current food brands claiming an ethical or sustainable stance, DF Mavens offers the finest dairy-free, gluten-free, cruelty-free, kosher and 100% vegan ice cream made in NYC. Or, before 2020, un-meltable ice cream could be in your pantry.