Ice cream — the cold, sweet treat enjoyed year-round by people everywhere. You wouldn’t think it would be hard to keep consumers flocking to your ice cream storage unit. But what happens when plain vanilla doesn’t quite cut it anymore?
These days, many ice cream lovers are looking for something more. From healthier options packed with protein or plant-based nutrition to innovative flavors from around the world, the ice cream industry continues to provide frozen treats that consumers gobble up.
According to Market Watch, the global ice cream industry is expected to have a compound annual growth rate of 4.9% between 2019 and 2025. The latest and greatest trends in flavors, bases, and manufacturing processes will continue to push sales during this period.
We’ve rounded up five hot ice cream trends for 2020 that will keep consumers coming back for more.
1. Creative & Crazy Flavors
Move over cookies and cream. More and more ice cream makers are thinking outside the box when it comes to inventing new and unusual flavors. Some flavors may sound suspect (EVOO, anyone?), but adventurous eaters are raving about this trend.
Interesting ice cream flavors aren’t new, but the trend is expected to grow in 2020. We’re also seeing a big variety of creative combos. From soothing pairings like lavender and honey to savory fusions like pear and blue cheese, there is a flavor out there for everyone.
2. Asian Inspiration
Mochi ice cream is a frozen Japanese treat wrapped in sweet rice dough. These tasty delights can be found in ice cream storage units everywhere. If you prefer to pick your own mix of flavors, a self-serve mochi bar might be just what you’re craving. With new flavors constantly popping up, you’ll want to keep an eye on mochi ice cream in 2020.
In the western part of the US, Korean ice cream styles are growing in popularity. One type is made with fresh milk (instead of heavy cream) and topped with a piece of fresh honeycomb. It’s only a matter of time before this trend spreads throughout the country.
3. Delicious & Healthy
Ice cream is not just a sweet indulgence anymore. The health craze has arrived for our favorite frozen treat and is making it even better. With a growing number of nutritious options available, more people are buying ice cream because it fits in with their health-conscious lifestyles.
People following a ketogenic diet consume low-carb, high-fat foods in order to change their body’s primary energy source from glucose to fatty acids. Touting weight-loss benefits, the keto diet continues to grow in popularity. Consumers are looking for more keto-friendly ice cream options.
To be considered keto, ice creams must have little to no sugar, moderate amounts of protein, and high fat content. In the past, texture and flavor have held keto-friendly ice creams back. Today, new recipes have people buying keto ice cream as fast as the stores can stock their ice cream storage units.
High-protein ice creams hit the market a few years ago and show no signs of slowing down. Similar to keto-friendly ice creams, many protein ice creams boast low amounts of sugar and carbs. Customer demand for these healthier high-protein ice creams remains high, especially among younger crowds.
Another trend you’ll be seeing in your grocer's ice cream storage unit is probiotic ice cream. Probiotics are microorganisms that support gut health by increasing beneficial bacteria in the digestive tract.
Yogurt is usually associated with probiotics. Lately, however, more ice cream brands have been incorporating probiotics into their products. Probiotic ice cream gets bonus points for potentially having oral health benefits.
4. Better Plant-Based Options
Plant-based ice creams aren’t new. However, many dairy-free options have struggled to gain retail space in the ice cream storage units of major grocery stores. One reason is that these ice creams sometimes lack an inviting texture. Lately, improvements to plant-based ice cream products have consumers taking notice.
While coconut and almond milk do the trick for dairy-free ice cream fans, it’s nice to have something different. Bases like tahini, oat milk, and avocado are gaining ground. Chickpea-based ice cream is receiving praise for its excellent texture. While these ice-cream bases might sound exotic to some consumers, others can't wait to scoop them up.
Many consumers have recently become more health- and eco-conscious. They’re looking for ice cream products to fit with their lifestyles. Dairy-free, plant-based ice creams fit the bill. With these combined factors, the plant-based ice cream market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 14.8% between 2018 and 2025.
Sustainability is huge right now, and the ice cream market is doing its part. Some ice cream brands are sourcing their ingredients locally. Many manufacturers have started to use packaging materials are recyclable or biodegradable and made with less plastic. Now, you can feel even better about your ice cream purchases in 2020.
From out-of-this-world flavors to plant-based alternatives, ice-cream lovers have a lot to look forward to in 2020. Get ready to keep your ice cream storage unit stocked with 2020's biggest trends in ice cream.
Now all you need to do is figure out how to keep the hot ice cream treats of 2020 cold. We can help! Contact us today for more information about the best energy-saving, profit-protecting commercial refrigeration solutions to meet your business’s needs.