Americans love to indulge in sweet, frozen desserts, and ever since the early 1900s, ice cream has been around to satiate everyone’s sweet tooth. Ice cream comes in a wide variety of flavors today, as do related desserts such as gelato, frozen custard, and sherbet. Not only that, but these desserts can be served in convenient containers ranging from gelato cups to plastic bowls to classic, edible waffles cones. There’s no “wrong” way to eat ice cream, but some patrons at an ice cream parlor may have their preferences on how to eat these desserts. How might an ice cream parlor get the right wholesale supplies for its patrons’ interests, and what’s the current state of the American frozen dessert industry?
Ice Cream and Gelato Today
It’s safe to say that ice cream and gelato, among other desserts, are as popular as ever among Americans of all ages. In fact, ice cream is included in the many studies done to see what Americans like to eat and drink, and studies show just how popular ice cream still is. For example, the NDP Group has found data showing that in any two-week period, around 40% of Americans will eat ice cream. That’s over 100 million people savoring a sweet frozen dessert, and similar data shows that around 90% of American households regularly indulges in frozen desserts like ice cream and gelato and others. This works out to the average American eating ice cream about 28.5 times per year, and if that were all in one month, that would be a month of nearly daily ice cream treats. Most often, Americans like to eat ice cream during the hot summer months, and June is the biggest month for ice cream production. Overall, this leads to a huge industry, and 1.5 billion gallons of ice cream is produced every year in the United States. This also means that a considerable 9% of all milk from American dairies goes toward making ice cream. That’s a lot of dessert. How might Americans eat it?
Desserts and Serving Options
Ice cream isn’t finger food, so consumers will want the right containers and serving utensils to dig into these and similar frozen treats. A classic option is the waffle cone, which is often the standard image of ice cream. These are not only convenient ways to carry ice cream around, but the cone is edible, and it may be a mildly sweet and crunchy contrast to the ice cream itself. Many ice cream eaters appreciate this, but they should be careful, since ice cream cones are messy, too. They are known for allowing drips, and ice cream scoops might fall off entirely. Besides that, ice cream cones aren’t good containers for holding leftovers at home in the fridge or freezer.
Some ice cream parlor patrons would rather have their desserts in paper cups with plastic straws and spoons. These containers aren’t edible like waffle cones are, but they are much tidier and don’t allow messes or spills while eating. What’s more, they are fine ready-made containers for leftovers, and they allow consumers to mix ice cream flavors and condiments as they like. This is common for ice cream, and related desserts like gelato and sherbet are nearly always served like this. Gelato is thicker and creamier than ice cream, and is best eaten from plastic bowls with specialized serving spoons. A good ice cream parlor will stock all of this and more.
Stocking the Store
A newly opened ice cream parlor may have a variety of flavors for ice cream and gelato on hand, and expand that menu as the store grows. And of course, that store’s staff will reach out to local wholesale suppliers to stock up on everything from edible waffle cones to paper cups and Styrofoam cups, to plastic straws and spoons to condiments. This store will also have enough freezer space to store ice cream and its ingredients, and there should be enough ice cream mixers on hand to meet demand. After each work day, staff members may rinse out these machines, then take them apart (as designed) and wash their pieces with soapy water. Once dry, these parts can be reassembled for the next work day, clean and ready to go.