Chocolate? Vanilla? Americans’ Favorite Flavor is Chocolate for Ice Cream

    NEW YORK , N.Y. – August 10, 2011 – Ah, ice cream. Few treats conjure up a summer day memory as much as a dripping ice cream cone or digging into a sundae after a long day at the beach. But which flavor is always the big debate. Who doesn’t remember standing in front of the counter agonized over that ever important decision? Well, for Americans, chocolate is the way to go as over one-quarter (28%) say it is one of their two favorite ice cream flavors followed by vanilla (26%) and cookie dough/cookies and cream (22%).

    These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,183 adults surveyed online between July 11 and 18, 2011.

    For one in five Americans butter pecan/swiss almond is tops (19%) followed by mint chocolate chip (15%), strawberry (12%) and rocky roady (11%). Less than one in ten U.S. adults say one of their two favorite flavors is coffee (9%), peanut butter (8%), cherry vanilla (7%), pistachio (7%), black raspberry (6%), peach (5%) or a seasonal flavor such as eggnog or pumpkin (4%). Over one in ten (13%) have a different favorite flavor and 3% say they do not eat ice cream.

    Different groups have their different favorite flavors. For example, three in ten Easterners (31%) and Midwesterners (32%) say chocolate is their favorite while three in ten Southerners (30%) prefer vanilla. Westerners have a close race for top flavor with 22% saying vanilla, 21% saying chocolate and 19% saying cookie dough/cookies and cream and rocky road.

    Forget the debt ceiling – there are also political differences in ice cream flavors! One-third of Republicans say chocolate is their favorite flavor (32%) followed by vanilla (28%) and cookie dough/cookies and cream (24%). One-quarter of Democrats, on the other hand, say vanilla is their favorite (26%) followed by chocolate (23%) and then butter pecan/Swiss almond (22%). For Independents, it is chocolate first (30%) followed by cookie dough/cookies and cream (24%) and then vanilla (22%).

    How do you want that?

    So, once the flavor is chosen, then it’s how to eat the ice cream. More than two in five Americans (44%) say their favorite way to eat ice cream is in a cup, followed by cone (30%), sundae (16%), and sandwich (2%) while 7% say their favorite way is something else. Men are slightly more likely than women to prefer cups (46% versus 42%) and sundaes (17% versus 15%). Women, however, are more likely to say their favorite way to eat ice cream is in a cone (34% versus 26%).

    And, any toppings?

    So the flavor is chosen and the method of eating the ice cream is set. Now there is one more major decision to make – the toppings! Over half of Americans (52%) say hot fudge is their favorite toppings for ice cream followed by two in five who say nuts (38%) and caramel (38%). Over one-third cite whipped cream as their favorite topping (36%) followed by fruit such as strawberries or bananas (31%), sprinkles (19%), candy bits (15%), and marshmallow (11%). One in five U.S. adults (19%) are purists and prefer to eat their ice cream plain.

    So What?

    Summer is a time of fun. It’s a time of vacations and doing things that may not happen again until sometime next summer. Whether it was the magical sounds of the ice cream truck coming through the neighborhood or stopping for a soft serve cone after a day at the beach, for many people there is some type of memory from their childhood that involves a yummy frozen treat.

     

    TABLE 1

    FAVORITE ICE CREAM FLAVOR

    What would you say your favorite two ice cream flavors are?

    Base: All U.S. adults

    Total 2009

    Total 2011

    Region

    Political Party

    East

    Midwest

    South

    West

    Rep.

    Dem.

    Ind.

    Chocolate

    27

    28

    31

    32

    28

    21

    32

    23

    30

    Vanilla

    22

    26

    27

    22

    30

    22

    28

    26

    22

    Cookie Dough/ Cookies and cream

    22

    22

    26

    22

    21

    19

    24

    18

    24

    Butter Pecan/ Swiss Almond

    20

    19

    12

    24

    21

    15

    15

    22

    19

    Mint Chocolate Chip

    17

    15

    15

    15

    15

    15

    16

    12

    16

    Strawberry

    13

    12

    8

    10

    15

    12

    10

    13

    12

    Rocky Road

    14

    11

    8

    11

    8

    19

    14

    11

    9

    Coffee

    9

    9

    10

    7

    6

    14

    7

    11

    8

    Peanut Butter

    8

    8

    10

    9

    7

    8

    12

    5

    8

    Cherry Vanilla

    9

    7

    10

    6

    7

    7

    6

    10

    8

    Pistachio

    8

    7

    7

    6

    6

    8

    5

    9

    6

    Black Raspberry

    6

    6

    10

    6

    3

    6

    7

    5

    6

    Peach

    4

    5

    6

    4

    7

    3

    5

    7

    4

    Seasonal, such as pumpkin or eggnog

    2

    4

    4

    4

    5

    4

    5

    3

    5

    Other

    9

    13

    13

    12

    13

    15

    9

    16

    13

    Do not eat ice cream

    3

    3

    1

    3

    2

    5

    2

    3

    3

    Note: Up to two responses accepted

     

    TABLE 2

    FAVORITE WAY TO EAT ICE CREAM

    What is your favorite way to eat ice cream?

    Base: All U.S. adults

    Total 2009

    Total 2011

    Gender

    Men

    Women

    Cup

    45

    44

    46

    42

    Cone

    29

    30

    26

    34

    Sundae

    18

    16

    17

    15

    Sandwich

    2

    2

    2

    2

    Other

    6

    7

    9

    6

    Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding

     

    TABLE 3

    FAVORITE TOPPING

    What are your favorite ice cream toppings?

    Base: All U.S. adults

    Total 2009

    Total 2011

    Political Party

    Rep.

    Dem.

    Ind.

    Hot fudge

    57

    52

    59

    48

    54

    Nuts

    43

    38

    36

    43

    34

    Caramel

    35

    38

    36

    40

    38

    Whipped Cream

    40

    36

    38

    35

    38

    Fruit (Strawberries, bananas, etc.)

    31

    31

    29

    32

    34

    Sprinkles

    18

    19

    17

    18

    20

    Candy bits

    13

    15

    16

    14

    15

    Marshmallow

    12

    11

    11

    10

    11

    Other

    4

    5

    4

    5

    6

    None- I prefer to eat my ice cream plain

    16

    19

    15

    19

    21

    Note: Multiple responses accepted

     

    Methodology

    This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between July 11 to 18, 2011 among 2,183 adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.

    All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, Harris Interactive avoids the words margin of error as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.

    Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Interactive surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in the Harris Interactive panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

    These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

    The results of this Harris Poll may not be used in advertising, marketing or promotion without the prior written permission of Harris Poll.

    J40488

    Q806, 810, 815

    The Harris Poll® #90, August 10, 2011

    By Regina A. Corso, SVP, Harris Poll. Public Relations and Youth Research