The last time I ate butter pecan was out of desperation, as it was my dad’s favorite ice cream flavor, so we always had it in the freezer when I was a kid. Only when all other possibilities had been completely exhausted—Neapolitan, Good Humor bars, Flavor-Ices—would I deign to dig into that beige half-gallon with the chewy frozen nuts in it. But a new survey of popular U.S ice cream flavors shows that I may be in the minority.
In honor of National Ice Cream Day coming up on July 15, online research firm YouGov has released a new survey. YouGov has on online panel of 1.2 million respondents, and emails them at random to get a base sample. In this case, 1,153 adults nationwide responded with their ice cream preferences, and the results were a little surprising. Most could guess that the top flavor in any region was going to be chocolate (14 percent). Runner-up: vanilla, sure (13 percent). But number three: butter pecan (11 percent), reflecting the 1970s preferences of my dad. I mean, I can’t remember the next time I’ve even seen a half-gallon of butter pecan in the grocery aisle freezer. Apparently, age is a factor: 18-34-year-olds were “more likely to prefer cookies ‘n creme (14 percent) and chocolate chip cookie dough (13 percent), while people 55 and up were far more likely to prefer butter pecan (17 percent) and vanilla (16 percent).” Which means that butter pecan’s reign of terror may be inching toward its end.
Other popular ice cream flavors make more sense: Mint chocolate chip is huge in the northeast U.S., while rocky road is a favorite the western states. Hot fudge (43 percent) is the most popular topping, followed by nuts (34 percent). But I still can’t get over this butter pecan thing. Maybe I’ll have to give it another try; Ben & Jerry’s makes a Bourbon Pecan Pie flavor, does that count?