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Survey Reveals Our Relationship with Ice Cream May Be Cooling
Illinois Ag Connection - 07/17/2017

Americans have enjoyed ice cream for centuries -- Presidents Thomas Jefferson and George Washington were both known to serve the treat to their guests. A new national survey conducted this month by an independent research firm for ARCTIC ZERO Fit Frozen Desserts illustrates that today's Americans are not feeling as free to indulge in ice cream as our Founding Fathers did.

Among the findings: While 99% of people like ice cream, more than half of Americans say they do not eat ice cream or limit their consumption due to "health" concerns. That includes those who feel ice cream isn't a healthy choice (22%), those who are trying to lose weight or stay fit (17%), and the increasingly significant percentage of Americans who say they are managing dietary restrictions (16%). Nearly one in five shoppers reported regularly avoiding the ice cream section at the grocery store -- half of them noting they did not want to be tempted to purchase ice cream.

Amit Pandhi, CEO of ARCTIC ZERO Fit Frozen Desserts, notes that the survey underscores the health consciousness of today's consumers and the growing demand for a healthier frozen dessert option that respects dietary needs such as those due to diabetes or lactose intolerance.

"Everyone still wants to indulge a sweet tooth and enjoy a fun and flavorful frozen dessert. Yet, collectively we are becoming more careful about our choices -- paying attention to ingredients, nutritional value, dietary restrictions and preferences and how our indulgences make us feel," said Pandhi.

When measured against data gathered in June 2016, the number of Americans reporting dietary restrictions increased by six percent. In addition, more than half (53%) of those surveyed reported that they either always or frequently read the ingredient labels on ice cream or frozen desserts before eating or purchasing -- up from 45% last year.

Among the other findings of the survey, which was conducted by a third-party research firm:

- 7 in 10 people say they crave ice cream on average at least once a week -- nearly a quarter have the craving every day.

- Yet, 60% of respondents report resisting indulging an ice cream craving within the last month, primarily because:

- Too high in calories (45%)

- Too much sugar (42%)

- Too much fat (36%)

- Contains ingredients that make them feel ill, or contains too many artificial ingredients (colors, flavors, preservatives, sweeteners, etc.) (23%)

The amount of sugar per serving was also cited as the most important factor for those who evaluate the nutritional content of their frozen desserts and ice creams.

One in 10 of those who don't shop the ice cream section avoid it because they or a family member has a dietary restriction, including: low sugar diets due to diabetes or other reasons (50%), lactose sensitivity or intolerance (46%), gluten sensitivity or intolerance (44%), Kosher diets (39%), and GMO-free diets (38%).

Forty-eight percent of survey respondents believe a frozen dessert sweetened with organic cane sugar and monk fruit is healthier for them versus only 20% who feel that ice creams containing sugar alcohols are better for them. Sugar alcohols such as erythritol have been known to cause gastrointestinal cramping for some, and studies examining its potential effect on metabolism and weight gain are underway by leading health researchers.

ARCTIC ZERO conducts the National Ice Cream Month survey every summer to track developing frozen dessert category trends and preferences.

"As our survey shows, only one percent of the population doesn't like ice cream -- but of those who enjoy it, only 45 percent eat it regularly without concern," said Amit Pandhi. "Millions of Americans want to be able to indulge without compromising their health or their fitness goals. Dietary restrictions and considerations are a key driver of this response and we see this trend in our other marketing research. ARCTIC ZERO created the Fit Frozen Desserts category to give health-conscious people who love ice cream a reason to reach into the freezer again."

Of those survey respondents who resisted their recent cravings for ice cream, 49% said they turn to frozen desserts other than ice cream to satisfy their cravings.

"We want people to feel free to enjoy a delicious frozen dessert without guilt or concern about ingredients, so we aim to be the cleanest label ice cream alternative in the frozen desserts aisle," said Pandhi.

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