2024 Ice Cream Trends & Insights

2024 Ice Cream Trends & Insights

Ruby Gelato pints by Chef Ciro Fraddano

After a long, dreary winter, the tiniest bit of warmth and sunshine can have customers seeking out frozen treats. Are you ready? 

You can’t go wrong with the basics - everyone loves chocolate, vanilla, and caramel. And nostalgic treats are always trending.

But what about people who are looking for something a little more unusual? Impulse ice cream purchases can be a good source of sales, especially if you’re able to position a grab ‘n’ go-style freezer case in the right spot, but grabbing a customer’s attention is critical. Consider exciting flavors, multiple colors, and unique textures to attract those who weren’t even thinking about ice cream.

In fact, take-home and impulse ice cream purchases are expected to account for $43 billion each in 2024*. So make sure you have a little something for everyone.

65% of price-conscious consumers are more likely to impulse-buy products that are innovative in flavor or taste.**

Ice Cream Tacos with different toppings

Sometimes a creative format is all it takes to give an old favorite a new spin. Ice Cream Tacos are a fun idea for a portable treat!

Keep it Fresh

Everyone loves a fresh take on a classic favorite, and ice cream is the ultimate nostalgic treat. It’s also a blank canvas for creativity.

75% of global consumers want to try new and exciting ice creams.**

52% of consumers seek out seasonal ice cream flavors. **

Coffee chains have mastered the seasonal special. Why not grab a quick break and do a little snooping? Peppermint, pumpkin spice, pink lemonade, and chocolate-strawberry swirl have the benefit of being familiar flavors and the advantage of limited availability. Once you’ve got your coffee, stroll over to the local farmer’s market and see how you might collaborate with a nearby grower to create a seasonal ice cream treat using local produce. In fact, 51% of global consumers prefer exclusive or limited-edition ice creams.**

Caramel Ice Cream bar by Chef Emmanuel Ryon

Creamy, crunchy, chunky

Ice cream treasure hunts are the best kind, in our opinion. Who hasn’t gotten lost pursuing a vein of chocolate caramel or accidentally worked their way to the bottom of a pint digging for chocolate chip cookie dough bits? 

Even those who practice restraint appreciate the interplay of different textures as they enjoy an ice cream treat. 

66% of global consumers prefer ice cream that has multiple textures, with creamy, crunchy, and chunky topping the list. *** 

Mix-ins are a great, easy way to create new ice cream flavors. Chocolate chunks, caramelized nuts, or Crispearls™ add crunch. Gooey caramel or rich ganache add flavor and a creamy texture. And why not reduce food waste as you’re creating new flavors? Does your shop produce brownies, cookies, cakes, macarons, donuts, or even bread? These can be added to freshly processed or softened ice cream or even infused into the dairy to make an extra-intriguing flavor.

2024 Ice Cream Trends Report

Get Even More Ice Cream insights

Download the 2024 Ice Cream Trends booklet.

 A plated dessert with frozen yogurt and fresh fruit

Healthier Indulgences are Trending

54% of global consumers avoid ice cream that contains e-numbers or artificial flavors/colors, and 56% agree that they are actively seeking sustainably produced ice cream products.**

Your customers want to see simple, sustainably produced ingredients on the ingredient labels of their ice cream treats. Even though we all like to indulge without thinking about anything other than a decadent experience, a “clean” label can leave us feeling less guilty about spoiling our dinners—and get us coming back for more!

What about the “free-from” trend? It’s true - we’re all looking for ways to reduce sugar in our diets, and many people are avoiding ingredients like dairy for health or environmental reasons, but vegan ice cream can be a challenge. It's worth pursuing if you want to expand your customer base, and the results can be both healthy and deliciously indulgent. 

* Euromonitor 2023
** Proprietary Barry-Callebaut Study, 2023
*** Innova, Annual Review of the Year 2022, Desserts and Ice Cream