Whether making ice cream from scratch from an ice cream cookbook in your very own ice cream maker or enjoying an ice cream scoop from a local shop, ice cream may be the most popular snack or dessert available. The total ice cream sales in the United States alone accounted for just over $6 billion in 2019. It is a huge and profitable industry, so it is no surprise there are many companies getting in on the action. While there are national brands that have a sizeable chunk of the market, there are also many smaller brands that are unique to various regions of the country, including Ben & Jerry’s in certain regions. Smaller companies may rule locally, however.
Ben & Jerry’s is the most popular brand, with $681 million in sales last year alone. Additionally, Häagen-Dazs and Blue Bell had around $569 million each. An ice cream category called “private label” is a combination of small brands, which almost doubled the amount of Ben & Jerry’s total sales in 2019.
Here are the top ice-cream sellers nationwide for 2019, with sales totaling millions of dollars.
- Ben & Jerry’s: $681.5 million
- Häagen-Dazs: $569.2 million
- Blue Bell: $567.8 million
- Breyers: $479.3 million
- Turkey Hill: $287.8 million
Sometimes, vanilla is made fun of as being plain, but it remains the most popular flavor of ice cream in America. Chocolate and strawberry are second and third in popularity. From there, the flavors get more complex, such as chocolate chip cookie dough, mint chocolate chip, buttered pecan, and birthday cake.
A total of 14 states picked chocolate as their favorite. Oreo was the pick in Arkansas and Illinois. Cookie dough was the favorite in Wisconsin and Michigan, while bourbon-flavored ice cream was the favorite in Kentucky.
The national brands have influence everywhere, but they may be even more popular where they were developed. Ben & Jerry’s, for instance, is the top-selling brand nationally, and while it was developed in Vermont in 1978 and still has its headquarters there, Ben & Jerry’s remains popular in New England. Additionally, the company also has ice cream factories in Nevada, The Netherlands, and Israel.
>New York and the East Coast
Häagen-Dazs was started in New York in 1961 and opened its first retail store in 1976. Short after opening, Häagen-Dazs had some conflicts with Ben & Jerry’s. In 1984, there was a lawsuit over distribution when the two companies were competing in Boston. Both companies are popular nationally, but Häagen-Dazs has its niche in New York and New Jersey.
>Texas and Southern States
Blue Bell was started in Texas in 1907 and is an iconic flavor in the Lone Star state. It has popularity nationwide as a top-seller but is especially popular in Texas, Oklahoma, and other southern states.
Blue Bunny is a favored brand in Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, and several mid western states. Part of Wells Enterprises, Blue Bunny is one of the largest family-owned ice cream manufacturers in the United States. This company makes several private label brands as well. Blue Bunny was started in 1913 in Iowa and remains a favorite there.
A popular brand on the west coach is Tillamook, which is headquartered in Tillamook, Oregon. This company is known for its cheese, but it also makes unique ice cream flavors like pistachios and peaches or Oregon berries and hazelnuts.
Is all this talk of ice cream making you crave it? Grab an ice cream container from your favorite brand or try out something new today!