Summer is well and truly on its way, so it’s time to prepare for the inevitable upsurge in ice cream orders. A freezer cabinet staple, the ice cream category is worth £342m in the UK convenience channel alone, with significant and steady growth of 5% year on year. 

Despite a general trend towards more price-conscious shopping, Ice cream is one of the markets where customers are willing to pay more for high-quality ingredients and a premium experience at home.

Once complete with a few family-sized tubs of Neapolitan and a Vienetta or two, the ice-cream aisle has been transformed to reflect the more adventurous taste buds of consumers, who in 2018 are hunting for ever more interesting and exotic flavours.  

Floral Flavours 

In a move to bring fine-dining staples like hibiscus and violet into customers’ homes, brands are looking to harness these delicate floral flavours in their premium ice cream products. Rose in particular will be a key floral flavour profile, as customers worldwide rediscover and embrace this traditional ingredient. Long used in Middle-Eastern desserts, US grocery giant Whole Foods is predicting a surge in ‘rose-flavoured everything’ for 2018. Tahitian Vanilla pairs particularly well with florals as it has a delicate, aromatic flavour profile reminiscent of cherry blossoms. Unknown to many, Vanilla also has masking properties that can tone down the notes of bitterness that can be present in many florals.  

Depth and Darkness

Complexity of flavour is a key trend for 2018, with consumers looking for a high-end, indulgent treat to enjoy at home. In response to this, brands are focusing on elaborate flavours targeted at adults that aren’t overly sweet, often harnessing the flavour profiles of their favourite cocktails.

The rise in popularity of the espresso martini was prolific in 2017, so ice cream brands could capitalise on this trend with a rich, toasty coffee flavoured base and a hit of barrel-aged rum to mimic the cocktail’s characteristic warmth. With less than 1% alcohol content, cocktail-inspired ice creams are not considered an alcohol product. 

Premium ‘Basics’  

It’s not just about exotic flavours and out-there combinations. As well as the more intrepid consumer, there’s a significant market for the basics – chocolate, strawberry and vanilla – with a premium makeover. Stepping away from the extravagant tubs with ripples, toppings and crunch, brands are looking to their ingredients to upscale their ‘basic’ flavours. To meet this demand in vanilla ice cream, for example, brands could look to combine more than one type of vanilla, perhaps Madagascan and Tahitian vanillas to create a nuanced, creamy, well-rounded flavour profile with velvety-smooth depth. 

Deconstructed Desserts

Deconstructing the flavours of another well-known dessert and intertwining them into an ice cream gives brands a point of difference in a crowded marketplace by offering customers a new take on their favourite desserts. Vanilla provides an ideal base for these combination tastes as it enhances our ability to taste other flavours by intensifying them without being overpowering. 

Focus on Provenance 

As in many other market sectors, customers are also more conscious than ever about the provenance of what they’re consuming. They want to know not only what flavour something is, but specifically what type of vanilla, and whether it was sustainably sourced; or what kind of chocolate goes into the mix and whether it was made by premium chocolatiers, or if the cocoa comes from a specific region. Telling the story behind a brand has become almost as important as the flavourings created. 

Cornelius offers a wide range of flavourings for ice cream, including Nielsen Massey vanillas and flavour extracts. The company’s experience in crafting pure vanillas and flavours, using a proprietary cold extraction process for over a century, allows it to tap into this heightened customer awareness. The company focuses on the importance of commitment to sustainability and social responsibility, so much so that it strives to protect and conserve the natural resources and communities involved in the production of its pure vanilla and flavours. 

For more information on the range of flavours Cornelius has to offer, visit or contact Joy Thomas on