As diners seek out relief from summer temps, cold treats are an applicable and profitable way to draw them in.

We All Scream

The ultimate summer treat, ice cream is a versatile vehicle to get creative with ingredients, flavor profiles, and toppings. Give this classic dessert an upgrade for 2023 with savory flavors like cardamom pistachio, earl grey and lavender, or even sweet corn or beet. With interest in international flavors still going strong, you can capitalize on adventurous trends by adding yuzu ice cream, baklava, matcha, or spiced chai for a twist on the summertime favorite.

Dairy-free ice creams are also huge right now, so experiment using alternative milks like oat and coconut, use creamy fruits like banana, or avocado as a base, or let summer shine through with fruity, light sorbets served up in a mini flight as a treat for the eyes and taste buds.

And what is ice cream without the cherry on top? Guests love to customize with a variety of toppings, so ensure you have the usual suspects, along with premium toppings like churros, honeycomb, or West Creek® Crushed Pineapple Topping to add seasonal flair and provide upcharge opportunities for your decadent desserts.

Frozen Frenzy

Frozen treats are up more than 20% on menus from last year.1 They’re perfect for the season, and since you can put them on your drink, snack, and even breakfast menus, they’re also potential revenue drivers. International flavors are thriving in this category as well, so having one or two can pique the interest of adventurous foodies.

Mangonadas, frozen fruity Mexican drinks are up 100% on menus in the last year.2 Popsicles have also been getting a more sophisticated update with flavors from the barista side of things. Consider bright teas like hibiscus rooibos tea to pair with fresh fruit for sticks that will dazzle and refresh. Utilize pantry ingredients to craft summery ‘sicles like watermelon basil, or even strawberry mojito for a boozy bite-sized treat.

Speaking of boozy desserts, adult slushies and frozen fruity margaritas are also getting more action on menus. The Aperol Spritz has become a summer staple, but why not take it up a notch by offering a frozen version of this classic cocktail made with Prosecco, orange sorbet, and a slice of juicy orange for a burst of flavor? Not to mention brightly colored frozen treats will pop on social media, so consider promoting these to drive visits.

Back in Time

Nostalgic flavors are often hits with diners of all ages, so it’s no surprise that nearly 60% of consumers are interested in nostalgic desserts over others.3

S’mores, cookie dough, and banana pudding are currently some of the top trends for nostalgic desserts, so please palates and evoke some serious nostalgia with a cookie dough milkshake or banana pudding ice cream sandwich. And we can’t mention nostalgic desserts without the classic ice cream float. Mix it up with flavors like black cherry soda, creamsicle, or ginger beer with a fruity sorbet.

1Datassential: Dessert Keynote Report, 2023
2Datassential: 2023 Flavor Trends
3Datassential: Dessert Decadence, June 2023

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