If you’re involved in the food and restaurant industry, you should know that trends are constantly evolving. What’s in one day, might be out the next. Keeping this in mind, it’s important to know what consumers are currently crazing over in the market. We are going to go over a few ice cream trends that have been influencing the soft serve market in 2022, some of which we believe are here to stay.
1. Health Conscious Options
Ice cream is a source of enjoyment. Many people see it as a comfort food to binge on, but often times, they’re left with a feeling of regret once they’re stuck with the extra calories they consumed. To put an end to this feeling of guilt, many brands are beginning to produce their ice cream with organic ingredients and are ditching the highly processed additives and sugars. Some brands of hard ice cream are even using monk fruit and erythritol to keep carbohydrate levels low. The same process can be used in the making of soft serve; it all depends on the ingredients being used that ultimately decides how healthy or unhealthy it will be. Not only are some brands ditching the nonnutritive ingredients, but they’re also adding supplementary benefits such as protein, fiber, and CBD to their ice cream and soft serve.
2. Non-Dairy Ice Cream
Non-dairy ice cream may be the largest shift in the industry that we’ve witnessed in the past few years. In 2019, the non-dairy ice cream market size exceeded USD $500 million globally, and was expected to grow at a compound annual growth of over 13% between 2020 and 2026. Many people in recent years have been shifting towards vegan lifestyles, and others have been coming to terms with digestive disorders such as lactose intolerance and milk allergies. Therefore, it is important to take into consideration the number of consumers you will not be able to serve if dairy-free options are unavailable. By offering soft serve ice cream that is made with other products such as oat milk, almond milk, or cashew milk, more people can enjoy what your brand has to provide.
3. Dole Whip
If you’ve never heard of Dole Whip, we’d be surprised. The treat, which is a dairy free soft serve, was created in 1984 by the Dole Food Company. The original flavor, Pineapple, is the most well-known, but there are other flavors available such as cherry, mango, lemon, and watermelon, amongst others. Dole Whip gained popularity in the 80’s after debuting at Disney World, where the treat has been enjoyed ever since. Although Dole Whip has existed for a long time, social media is bringing it back into the spotlight. Recently on TikTok, a video went viral of a drink at Starbucks that tastes just like the pineapple Dole Whip from Disney, and people have been obsessing over it in the last few months. One of the many reasons why this treat is so sought after is because it is vegan, fat-free, gluten-free, cholesterol-free, and therefore, guilt-free. Another place that sells Dole Whip soft serve is The Pineapple Hut, a food truck located in South Carolina that specializes in pineapple Dole Whip treats. You can check out their mouth-watering creations on Instagram here.
4. Outrageous Flavors
It seems like every few years, companies get bored with typical ice cream flavors such as vanilla or chocolate, so they decide to experiment with more unprecedented flavors. Sometimes it’s not the base flavor that’s unique, but the toppings. While it may not be for everyone, some people prefer to get a little adventurous with their ice cream toppings. This DIY ice cream shop in Tampa lets their customers add unusual toppings to their soft serve such as bacon, corn, habanero powder, and goat cheese. While these toppings may sound a little extreme, your shop does not need to step this far out of the box to push customers out of their comfort zone. Other toppings that may introduce new flavor profiles and desirable textures to an ice cream menu that are a bit less intimidating may include: potato chips, pretzels, and different cereals. If you’re in need of some extravagant ice cream flavor inspo, check out this article which highlights some unique flavors that have been introduced to the market earlier this year by different ice cream brands.
As you can see, it’s important to stay up-to-speed with trends in this industry. To keep your customers loyal to your business, you must give them what they want and satisfy their needs. You should get comfortable with changing your menu regularly and always staying open to new ideas.