Ice Cream consumption is on the decline according to a study done by the United States Department of Agriculture. The average american used to consume 18 pounds of ice cream in 1986. Now in 2023, the average american eats only 12 pounds of ice cream per person. But how did this massive decrease come about?

Ice Cream in the 1900s

The ice cream business originally boomed in the 1920’s during prohibition. Without access to alcohol, Americans looked to find something else to satisfy their cravings and provide a place for social gatherings. Many turned to ice cream parlors to solve their thirst.

After the reinstatement of alcohol, ice cream became famous once again during WWII. The government used the dessert to lift people’s spirits. There was even an ice cream barge to send ice cream to troops overseas.

Ice Cream consumption was at an all time high. What changed?

John Robbins leaves Baskin Robbins

Baskin Robbins is a dominating force in the ice cream industry. Which made co-founder’s son John Robbins’ departure all the more confusing. In a recent article for Life Extension, Robbins shared his reasoning for leaving behind a billion dollar inheritance.

Different families have different taboo topics that don’t get discussed. In my family, it was that there could be any connection between food and health. My father didn’t want to think that the product he was selling was hurting anybody, much less that it could have contributed to the death of his beloved partner. But I was starting to believe that the more ice cream you ate, the more likely you were to have heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.

John Robbins

The ice cream heir turned his back on the sugary delight. Instead he’s become an advocate for clean eating. He believes ice cream consumption can be a dangerous addiction.

John has also provided insight into the company’s use of factory farmer cows to make their ice cream. He revealed the cruel conditions the animals were raised in. This declaration against ice cream from someone who was set to benefit from the industry had many Americans wondering if there was a better dessert option.

Ice Cream Consumption Concerns

It’s no secret ice cream isn’t the healthiest treat to eat. It has a high quantity of fats and sugars. People often make room after dinner to ensure they won’t be too full to enjoy their dessert. Which introduces the main issue with ice cream.

Sugars break down quickly in your GI tract, and fats aren’t digested until they reach your small intestines. Ice Cream gives you a sugar spike followed by a sugar crash later. Thus, it doesn’t fill you up like you probably prepared for.

This can leave consumers adding more scoops to their bowl to try to fill their stomach before bed. Consequently, you add more sugar and fat into your digestive system until it can’t take the overload. This health concern leaves many Americans looking for healthier ice cream options.

Ice Cream Alternatives

With more Americans worried about their health, a new era of ice cream begins. Sorbets, coconut milk ice cream, and oat milk ice cream have become popular due to the increase in lactose intolerance in the US. This demand has made traditional ice cream a less coveted snack.

Frozen yogurt shops have also taken over ice cream shops in popularity. They tend to have wider variety of frozen yogurts, toppings, and sauces. Their self serve options make getting dessert less of a hassle to order.

Gelato and premium yogurts are also overtaking ice cream. The two considered to be a fancier way to enjoy a frozen treat. Americans have been consuming low-carb ice cream in addition.

People have started to make their own low-carb ice cream at home. They often use cottage cheese as a healthier replacement for milk. Added toppings like nuts, fresh fruit, or honey give fresh produce health to the dessert. You can make your own Pistachio Cottage Cheese Ice Cream here!

Is This The End of Ice Cream Consumption?

Traditional ice cream is not going extinct any time soon. Its popularity has simply declined over the years. With progress comes change. And the ice cream industry has progressed into a more inclusive and varied era.

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