The Top Ice Cream Flavor of 2020 Proves We're All Just Looking for Comfort

Is it boring? Or just right?

Ice cream scoops different flavor - strawberry, chocolate, creamy in transparent glass ice-cream bowl in modern pink color interior on white wood board.
Photo: AlinaYudina/Getty Images

I don't have any hard data to back this up at the moment, but I have a hunch that people ate more ice cream in 2020 than in other, more normal years. Why? Well, we were locked inside and didn't have much better to do, and life gave us little reason to really care all that much about what we're eating.

Though we'll likely have to wait until next year to get definitive data about just how much ice cream we all ate in 2020, that hasn't stopped Häagen-Dazs from sharing some information of their own about our ice cream habits this year. And the biggest takeaway is that we're all pretty boring.

According to their Flavor of 2020 Report, the number one flavor we ate in 2020 was… vanilla?! Yes, vanilla. That was followed by coffee and strawberry. Vanilla appeared again, as part of Vanilla Milk Chocolate Almond Bar (that's a mouthful) in fourth place, with butter pecan rounding out the top five.

So why vanilla? It could just be that the classics never go out of style, but maybe we were searching for the comfort of something familiar to anchor us in these turbulent times. Simultaneously, it's obviously not the case that people just ate vanilla this year. Elsewhere in Häagen-Dazs' report, they mention that flavors "packed with indulgent sauces and mix-ins" also proved increasingly popular in 2020, so it's not like people aren't also exploring the outer limits of the ice cream world.

More importantly than any of that popular flavor nonsense, the real most important development is that Häagen-Dazs' boozy Spirits Collection was their most sought-after product line when judged by online search activity. Though each pint contains less than 0.5 percent alcohol by volume, there's always the chance that somebody at the factory screws up and you can have yourself a wild night.

So what does 2021 have in store for us? Who knows, but hopefully more chances to actually eat ice cream outside. Until then, keep buying those pints of vanilla, safe in the knowledge that there are a lot of boring people just like you seeking comfort in a classic.

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