Bewildered By All the Frozen Dessert Options Available These Days? Let Us Help
It’s no secret: Americans love ice cream. The International Dairy Foods Association reports that the average American consumes around 20 quarts of ice cream every year. That’s the highest per capita consumption in the world! And almost 90% of Americans have a stash of ice cream somewhere in their home during even the cold months! However, other forms of the frozen sweet treat have become more popular in recent years, such as gelato, sherbet, and frozen yogurt. Frozen yogurt in particular is fun, especially for kids, given the colorful array of toppings, the colorful spoons, and ability to serve your own fro-yo! For those with a more “refined” palate or who want to show off their worldly European palate, gelato is appealing — and gelato cups always looks so cute! Sherbet is always a good alternative for those who can’t have dairy — or who are vegan — especially if they want less complex flavors than that of fro-yo. Rainbow sherbet, for example, is always a refreshing and good idea!
Do People Really Like Ice Cream That Much?
Heck yes, they do! According to the NPD Group, about 40% of Americans will eat ice cream, regardless of whatever two week span it is in the year. Could be June, could be December. And in just one year, Americans eat ice cream 28.5 times! We produce just about two billion gallons of ice cream annually and there are over 2500 frozen yogurt stores in the country! We even have a National Ice Cream Month (it’s July, in case you were wondering).
The ice cream industry in the US does quite well, producing over $20 billion in yearly sales and around 9% of the total milk that dairy farmers produce goes to making ice cream for the masses.
And ice cream parties have always been popular among kids and adults alike. Schools will even offer ice cream as a reward for achieving a certain standard or for winning a competition — it’s a kid-friendly (and adult-friendly) treat all around!
Okay, So…Ice Cream? Gelato? Frozen Yogurt? Help!
If you have certain dietary restrictions or are just generally unsure about what each different term means, read on!
If you’re vegan, you’ll want to stick with sherbet or soy-based frozen-yogurts or ice creams that are specifically marked vegan-friendly. Otherwise, ice cream, gelato, and frozen-yogurt all have a dairy component.
Ice cream and gelato are the most similar, with a custard base (milk, cream, sugar, egg yolks) and are even processed similarly. However, there are some crucial differences. Ice cream is higher in fat content and has more air in it, due to the high speed at which it is churned. The churning process makes ice cream’s volume bigger and has 50% more air content after the churning process is completed.
Gelato has more milk and less cream and undergoes a slower churning process, to create a denser product (there’s less air). Gelato has a milk-fat content between 3-8% and only has about 25-30% in air content after the churning process.
Frozen yogurt uses yogurt instead of cream in the production process, so there’s only about 0.5-6% of milkfat in frozen yogurt. Sugar or other artificial sweeteners carry the bulk of content, about 15-17%.
How Do I Eat Gelato or Frozen Yogurt?
You can eat gelato or frozen yogurt in cones, though it’s rarer. Gelato cups and frozen yogurt cups are the most common methods for eating. In part, gelato cups keep the gelato from creating a total mess — since it’s served at a warmer temperature — and gelato cups also can make the presentation look prettier! With frozen yogurt, the cups help hold all those extra toppings! Both gelato and frozen yogurt usually come with little gelato or frozen yogurt spoons, similar to tasting spoons handed out with ice cream.
Now that you know the main differences between ice cream, gelato, frozen yogurt, and sherbet, go out and enjoy a frozen sweet dessert! You’re the new frozen treat expert on the block — use your knowledge wisely!