Chocolate or Vanilla? Cup or Cone? And What About Hot Fudge?

Chocolate leads Americans' favorite ice cream flavors, and cups conquer cones when it comes to consuming it

Aug 14, 2013, 13:00 ET from Harris Interactive

NEW YORK, Aug. 14, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The decision is a very hard one. Should you go traditional or a little more 'out there'? And, you know it's hot and all you want is that nice cold treat. But now, which flavor are you going to go with? Well, if you want to follow what other Americans do, chocolate is the way to go, as over one-quarter (27%) say it is one of their two favorite ice cream flavors, followed by vanilla (23%) and cookie dough/cookies and cream (22%).


These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,242 adults surveyed online between July 17 and 22, 2013 by Harris Interactive. (full results, including data tables, can be found here)

For one in five Americans, butter pecan/Swiss almond is tops (19%), as is mint chocolate chip (19%), followed by strawberry (14%), rocky road (12%) and peanut butter (10%). Less than one in ten U.S. adults say one of their two favorite flavors is coffee (9%), cherry vanilla (8%), pistachio (7%), black raspberry (6%), a seasonal flavor such as eggnog or pumpkin (5%) or peach (3%). One in ten (10%) have a different favorite flavor, and 2% say they do not eat ice cream.

There is a little bit of gender divide when it comes to favorite flavor. For women, chocolate is on top (29%), followed by mint chocolate chip (23%) and cookie dough/cookies and cream (22%). For men, vanilla is the narrow favorite (27%), then chocolate (26%) and cookie dough/cookies and cream (21%).

How do you want that?

Now, once the flavor is chosen, the decision doesn't end there. How should you actually eat the ice cream? More than two in five Americans (45%) say their favorite way to eat ice cream is in a cup, followed by cone (31%), sundae (16%), and sandwich (4%) while 5% say their favorite way to eat ice cream is something else – maybe in a cake? Men are more likely than women to prefer cups (49% versus 42%) and sundaes (17% versus 14%). Women, however, are more likely to say their favorite way to eat ice cream is in a cone (36% versus 25%).

And, any toppings?

So the flavor is chosen and the how you are going to eat the ice cream is set. Now there is one more major decision to make. Are you in the mood for something crunchy, or maybe something warm? Maybe there's a choice for something a little 'healthy,' or even pure decadence? Ah, what topping should you have on that ice cream?  

Over half of Americans (53%) say hot fudge is among their favorite toppings for ice cream, followed by two in five who say nuts (41%). Just under two in five say whipped cream is among their favorite toppings (39%), while 38% say caramel. Three in ten say their favorite is fruit, such as strawberries or bananas (31%), while one in five choose sprinkles (20%), followed by 17% who go for candy bits and one in ten who say marshmallow (11%). There are some purists out there, as 16% say they prefer their ice cream plain.


This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between July 17 to 22, 2013 among 2,242 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.

Q906, 910, 915

The Harris Poll® #53, August 14, 2013
By Regina A. Corso, SVP, Harris Poll and Public Relations, Harris Interactive

About Harris Interactive

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SOURCE Harris Interactive