July 21, 2021
As if you need a reason to celebrate the wonderful treat known as ice cream, get ready for National Ice Cream Month. Each American consumes more than 23 pounds of ice cream and related frozen desserts per year on average, according to the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA). Though the origins and creator of this widely beloved frozen drink remain unknown, recorded history states Alexander the Great enjoyed snow and ice flavored with honey and nectar.
So, in honor of National Ice Cream Month each July, let’s take a look at a few leading providers of this irresistible frosty snack.
Unilever PLC (Tii:UL) is the king of the cone. Its brands include Magnum, the first premium hand-held ice cream created for adults and the world’s best-selling ice cream brand. The company also owns Ben & Jerry’s, the makers of such unforgettable flavors as Americone Dream, Cherry Garcia, Chunky Monkey and Minter Wonderland. If that wasn’t enough, Unilever is also the parent of Breyers, Good Humor and Klondike. This spring, company representatives visited vaccination sites throughout the country and distributed Klondike bars and other summer treats to newly vaccinated people, vaccine site workers, and volunteers. In 2019, Magnum became the first ice cream brand to use recycled polypropylene plastic in its packaging, with Unilever rolling out over 7 million of the tubs across Europe the following year.
With brands that include Dreyer’s and Häagen-Dazs, Nestlé S.A. (Tii:NSRGY) is Unilever’s closest publicly traded rival in the ice cream business. While Nestlé may not lay claim as the largest producer of ice cream, the company nonetheless has legitimate ice cream-related bragging rights. Its Dreyer’s subsidiary was named after founder William Dreyer, who invented the popular Rocky Road flavor in 1929. The Swiss multinational food and drink provider is also generating sweet profits from ice cream, recently attributing first-quarter organic sales growth to solid ice cream product sales in Canada and Latin America. Some good news for vegans, Nestlé plans to expand its plant-based alternatives to dairy (which includes non-dairy ice cream).
Not to be confused with the global chocolate manufacturer with a similar name, Hershey Creamery Co. (Tii:HRCR) is a Pennsylvania-based producer of ice cream, sorbet, sherbet, frozen yogurt, and other frozen desserts. Its ice cream flavors include Green Mint Grasshopper, Midnight Peanut Butter Marshmallow, Mystical Mermaid, Salted Caramel Brownie, Signature Cookies & Cream Bar. Founded in 1894 by Jacob Hershey and his four brothers, the company is now looking to expand. The ice cream maker purchased over seven acres in Lockhart, Texas, to distribute ice cream products to retailers throughout Central and South Texas. On the environmental front, Hershey claims 95% of its truck fleet uses Electric Cold Plate Technology to reduce carbon emissions and requires all cardboard packaging to contain at least 40% recyclable paper. The company also mandates that all waste ice cream is saved and shipped to local pig farmers for feed.
With a name like Shake Shack Inc. (Tii:SHAK), one would expect to find some frozen treats on the menu. In addition to its eponymous shakes (which are typically made up of ice cream, milk, and other flavorings), the fast-casual restaurant chain offers vanilla and chocolate frozen custards. Though not exactly ice cream, frozen custards are also made from cream or milk and sugar but have eggs added for a denser consistency. Another custard purveyor, Good Times Restaurants Inc. (Tii:GTIM) owns, operates, franchises and licenses 39 Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar restaurants and 32 Good Times Burgers & Frozen Custard restaurants located primarily in Colorado. The chain offers more than a dozen flavors of shakes and a lineup of frozen custards that include Cookies & Cream Spoonbender, Caramel Toffee Crunch Spoonbender, Peanut Butter Chocolate Crunch Spoonbender, Chocolate Cookie Dough Spoonbender, and more.
Though not a leading ice cream maker by any means, The Kraft Heinz Company (Tii:KHC) made a big splash on social media recently by partnering with Brooklyn-based Van Leeuwen Ice Cream to create a special macaroni and cheese flavored ice cream. Introduced on National Macaroni & Cheese Day, July 14, the limited-edition dessert is available at Van Leeuwen shops and online while supplies last.
The IDFA estimates the industry has a $13.1 billion impact on the U.S. economy, supports 28,800 direct jobs, and generates $1.8 billion in direct wages. So, as you celebrate July as National Ice Cream Month, have a refreshing cone or cup of your favorite flavor. After all, it’s good for the economy.