Ice Cream Transcends Dessert Status

Frozen treats graduate from meal ender to all-day snack

Ben & Jerry's ice cream

ROCKVILLE, Md. – Most ice cream lovers need little excuse to enjoy their frozen dessert of choice regardless of time of year or occasion; 90% of U.S. households purchasing ice cream and frozen dessert products, according to market research publisher Packaged Facts in the report Ice Cream and Frozen Desserts in the U.S.: Opportunities in Retail & Foodservice.

Packaged Facts survey data reveals that frozen dessert consumption is so common that about 86% of the population reports eating ice cream all year round. Further, the proportion of American households and individuals who consume frozen dessert is so high that there is little "spiking" of consumption, either above or below the norm, among any segments by age, ethnicity, income, education or region.

Even in a modern-day climate that has become increasingly health conscious, ice cream has managed to persevere to the point where for many consumers the product has transcended the confines traditionally placed on desserts. Not only will consumers eat ice cream anytime of the year, but they will also eat it anytime of the day. As a result, ice cream has graduated from mere dessert to claim status as a snack food.

"Far more respondents to Packaged Facts' survey eat ice cream as a snack rather than as a dessert, and they enjoy it throughout the day," said David Sprinkle, research director for Rockville, Md.-based Packaged Facts. "More than half consider ice cream an evening snack, about one-quarter consume it as a late-night snack and another one-quarter as an afternoon snack. Some even snack on ice cream in the morning. Of course, ice cream also serves as dessert, with nearly half eating it after dinner and 13% after lunch."