CNN has a story about how "America’s age-old love affair with ice cream appears to be winding down.
"Consumption of regular dairy ice cream, which does not include frozen yogurt, sherbet or non- and low-fat ice creams, has been falling for years, according to the US Department of Agriculture.
"In 1986, the average American ate 18 pounds of regular ice cream, according to the USDA. By 2021, the most recent year of the data, that was down a third to just 12 pounds per person."
The problem, CNN writes, is that "like full-fat milk, soda, red meat and other former heroes of the American diet, ice cream has been scrutinized for its impact on health and the environment. After peaking in the 1940s, per capita availability of regular ice cream started to decline in the 1990s and through the 2000s as health-conscious consumers - including a member of the Baskin Robbins family - turned on the sugary, fatty food, or started treating it as an occasional, pricey treat."
In addition to health issues, the story suggests, people have turned away from ice cream because their tastes have evolved and they want more sophisticated desserts. There are a lot more options that there used to be, and when they want ice cream, they want the premium stuff - which costs more money. Especially during inflationary times, this is expected to further drive down ice cream consumption.
- KC's View:
Once again, I find myself out of step with the American population. I have two favorite desserts. Pie. And ice cream. (Okay, I have three. Bread pudding is the third. But that's a rare indulgence.) What I really like to do is combine warm pie with cold ice cream, but I recognize that this is probably not the most healthful thing to do on a regular basis.
But a spoonful or two of Graeter's Black Raspberry Chocolate Chip? Absolute heaven.
I wonder if part of the problem is not that Americans aren't eating as much ice cream as it is that ice cream companies are not telling their stories effectively and frequently. Even in a segment with a traditional appeal, you have to continue to sell the product in a meaningful and resonant way.
Maybe it is not that America is falling out of love with ice cream as much as it is the ice cream segment has fallen out of love with old fashioned marketing and promotion.