A list of the most popular ice cream flavors will depend on who’s doing the questioning and who’s doing the answering!

Is it a list based on the best selling ice cream flavors or on which flavors people say is their favorite? Because compromises are often made when buying ice cream that everyone likes.

And sometimes people even claim to like things that they don’t, or not really!

The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) produce a yearly list of the best selling ice cream flavors in America.

Here’s the one for 2019. It’s full of traditional favorites and pretty predictable I suppose…

  1. Vanilla
  2. Chocolate
  3. Cookies N’ Cream
  4. Mint Chocolate Chip
  5. Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough
  6. Buttered Pecan
  7. Cookie Dough
  8. Strawberry
  9. Moose Tracks
  10. Neapolitan

I can’t imagine this list changes very much from year to year to be honest. I read somewhere that vanilla ice cream is slipping in popularity.

But it’s so versatile, complimenting so many different dishes, it’s hard to imagine it will ever be knocked off the top spot.

YouGov conducted a survey this year (2020) where they asked 20,000 American which was their favorite flavor. And the results were very similar to the IDFA.

Which is perhaps hardly surprising really…

  1. Chocolate
  2. Vanilla
  3. Strawberry
  4. Mint Chocolate Chip
  5. Butter Pecan
  6. Other
  7. Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough
  8. Cookies N’ Cream
  9. Rocky Road
  10. Coffee
  11. Chocolate Chip
  12. Pistachio
  13. Neapolitan
  14. Birthday Cake / Cake Batter

Although maybe the slight difference at the top of the lists backs my original point. Vanilla is the top selling flavor not because it’s the favorite of more people but because it’s a flexible compromise.

The real favorite of the American public is Chocolate!

What’s more interesting is the differences in flavor preferences according to region, gender politics, age and income levels!

If you’re from the North East, you skew strongly towards Chocolate. Southerners are more likely to love Butter Pecan.

Women also seem to be much keener on Butter Pecan than men. While they’re also less keen on Vanilla than men.

In fact men are more likely to go for the traditional plainer flavors like Vanilla, Chocolate and Strawberry. Maybe Butter Pecan challenges their masculinity?

Republicans love Chocolate ice cream. They’re also less keen on Coffee ice cream than the Democrats who seem more likely to go for less known flavors.

It’s no surprise that old people tend to be more keen on the traditional flavors of Vanilla and Chocolate. And much less keen on Cookies N’ Cream, which the kids love!

Butter Pecan skews massively popular with the oldies too!

Predictably, the traditional Vanilla is more popular with the rich. But strangely the traditional Chocolate is more popular with the poor.

And again Butter Pecan is much more popular with the poor.

So there you go. If you’re a old, female, from the American South on a low income, there’s one thing we can be sure of: you definitely love Butter Pecan ice cream in 2020.