Ice cream claims center stage as consumers turn to a favorite treat for stress relief

Over the past year, a lot of us have wanted to pull the covers over our heads and stay in bed. We’ve also turned to favorite foods and beverages to enjoy the comfort of the familiar in an uncertain time. One major player in this trend—ice cream.

After (or during) a high-stress day, consumers are turning to a scoop, cone or bowl of their favorite flavor to dial down the pressure. Like a warm bath or a soothing skin care treatment, ice cream is seen as a “permissible indulgence.”

That’s why sales of ice cream continue to nudge upward. According to Mintel, 91% of consumers purchase it regularly, and households with children often have multiple flavors on hand. And there are plenty of “better for you,” health-conscious claims in the ice cream sector that mirror those in other foods.

That’s because while ice cream may be seen around the world as a permissible treat, consumers who are reading labels and studying ingredients also want to see their positive lifestyle choices reflected there. They want that indulgence, and they also want to not undo the benefits they are achieving through a healthy lifestyle.

Healthy concepts + innovative tastes = tomorrow’s trends

Here are some trends that will direct how, and where, ice cream goes over the coming months and years:

Multisensory: Flavors that offer unique combinations, a step away from the familiar

Indulgence: The tried-and-true flavors that hark back to childhood

Mature audiences: Liquor and other infusions for a grown-up palate

Healthy appeal: All-natural, low-sugar, reduced-fat and other configurations that draw in the health-conscious consumer

There will also be a certain “mix and match” of the above. For instance, start with a peanut butter variegate as a base flavor, and build:

  • a PB&J frozen dessert that takes the classic American sandwich, but uses almond milk
  • a fudgy crisped rice treat
  • a salted, malted confection with pretzel pieces

Sensient has multiple variegates to pair with different inclusions to make dozens of combinations! Let us bring our creativity to your products to create exciting new flavors that consumers will love. Contact us today to learn more!