New frozen desserts that feature salty or sour tastes were among the most innovative trends during the “What’s Your Favorite New Ice Cream Flavor?” contest at the International Dairy Foods Association’s (IDFA), Washington, D.C., annual Ice Cream Technology Conference, March 2-3 in St. Petersburg, Fla. Salted Caramel Chocolate Pretzel ice cream, developed by SensoryEffects Flavor Systems, Bridgeton, Mo., was the most innovative prototype flavor.

Meanwhile, Perry’s Ice Cream, Akron, N.Y., won for Most Innovative Novelty for its Sour Buddie Bars, which will be available this spring at retail locations in sour green apple or sour blue raspberry sherbet with a vanilla ice cream center, and Most Innovative Ice Cream Flavor for its red velvet-flavored ice cream, which is a red velvet cake base with cream cheese-flavored swirls. It is now available at ice cream stands in New York and Western Pennsylvania.

“It is an honor to be selected for the IDFA awards by our respected peers in the dairy industry. Red Velvet is one of the hottest trends in food right now and our Sour Buddie bars were developed with a fun, younger consumer in mind,” says Robin Waite, research and quality team leader for Perry’s.

The IDFA awards honor the top ice cream innovations in the dairy industry. This year’s competition was sponsored by Dairy Foods and featured contestants from around the country. A panel of 110 judges from across the dairy industry selected the winners; there were 18 entries in three categories. The conference also included presentations and discussion on key issues in the industry, such as sensory evaluation and product concept testing, implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act, ice cream’s place in a healthy diet, new and traditional sweetener options and sustainability in the frozen dessert industry.

“This annual contest provides a unique opportunity to spot new trends,” says Cary Frye, IDFA vice president for regulatory and scientific affairs. “From unusual combinations such as strawberries and peppercorns to more traditional flavors like coconut cream pie, the annual contest showcases the creativity of our ice cream and frozen dessert makers.”