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

August 10, 2011

NEW YORK, Aug. 10, 2011 /PRNewswire/ – 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%).

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

For one in five Americans butter pecan/Swiss almond is tops (19%) followed by mint chocolate chip (15%), strawberry (12%) and rocky road (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   Total                 Region
                        2009    2011
                                      East   Midwest   South    West
    Chocolate             27      28     31        32      28      21
    Vanilla               22      26     27        22      30      22
    Cookie Dough/
     Cookies and
     cream                22      22     26        22      21      19
    Butter Pecan/
     Swiss Almond         20      19     12        24      21      15
    Mint Chocolate
     Chip                 17      15     15        15      15      15
    Strawberry            13      12      8        10      15      12
    Rocky Road            14      11      8        11       8      19
    Coffee                 9       9     10         7       6      14
    Peanut Butter          8       8     10         9       7       8
    Cherry Vanilla         9       7     10         6       7       7
    Pistachio              8       7      7         6       6       8
    Black Raspberry        6       6     10         6       3       6
    Peach                  4       5      6         4       7       3
    Seasonal, such
     as pumpkin or
     eggnog                2       4      4         4       5       4
    Other                  9      13     13        12      13      15
    Do not eat ice
     cream                 3       3      1         3       2       5


                           Political Party
                       Rep.    Dem.    Ind.
    Chocolate             32      23      30
    Vanilla               28      26      22
    Cookie Dough/
     Cookies and
     cream                24      18      24
    Butter Pecan/
     Swiss Almond         15      22      19
    Mint Chocolate
     Chip                 16      12      16
    Strawberry            10      13      12
    Rocky Road            14      11       9
    Coffee                 7      11       8
    Peanut Butter         12       5       8
    Cherry Vanilla         6      10       8
    Pistachio              5       9       6
    Black Raspberry        7       5       6
    Peach                  5       7       4
    Seasonal, such
     as pumpkin or
     eggnog                5       3       5
    Other                  9      16      13
    Do not eat ice
     cream                 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    Total          Gender
                   2009    2011
                                    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  Total        Political Party
                      2009    2011
                                    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 Interactive.

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Q806, 810, 815

The Harris Poll® #90, August 10, 2011
By Regina A. Corso, SVP, Harris Poll. Public Relations and Youth Research, Harris Interactive

About Harris Interactive

Harris Interactive is one of the world’s leading custom market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for the Harris Poll and for pioneering innovative research methodologies, Harris offers expertise in a wide range of industries including healthcare, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer package goods. Serving clients in over 215 countries and territories through our North American, European, and Asian offices and a network of independent market research firms, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help us – and our clients – stay ahead of what’s next. For more information, please visit www.harrisinteractive.com.

Press Contact:
Corporate Communications
Harris Interactive
212-539-9600
press@harrisinteractive.net

SOURCE Harris Interactive


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