Bourbon, berries with brandy, chocolate mudslide, cinnamon bun and bananas dominated the pack in this year’s annual Innovative Ice Cream Flavor Competition, held during the International Dairy Foods Association’s (IDFA) Ice Cream Technology Conference, which took place April 16-17 in St. Petersburg, Fla.

Each year, the competition brings together new and soon-to-be-released flavors from small and large U.S. ice cream makers and flavorings suppliers, and has become the top destination for companies testing bold and unique flavors, IDFA said. The 2019 contest attracted more than 145 ice cream industry professionals and 35 flavor entries over the two-day event — including two dairy-free frozen desserts from Beyond Better Foods and Kerry that took home the top honors.

“This year’s contest really wowed us with a mix of sweet and savory, combining liqueurs with candy crumbles and spices, and bakery flavors like cobbler, French toast, cookies and pie crust,” said Cary Frye, IDFA’s senior vice president of regulatory affairs. “We’re so proud of how IDFA’s Ice Cream Tech has become a celebration of America’s most beloved frozen treats and a window into the innovation and creativity happening in U.S. dairy today.”

Kathie Canning, editor-in-chief of Dairy Foods, said she was really impressed with the creativity of the entries this year.

“From an on-trend savory concept featuring the flavor of dill pickles to a nostalgia-inspired concept showcasing a sweet breakfast cereal favorite, they all managed to surprise and delight conference attendees,” she said. “Congratulations to the winners, who truly mastered the ice cream flavor-creation process!”

Frye and Canning presented the awards in three categories: Most Innovative Ice Cream Flavor, Most Innovative Ice Cream Novelty and Most Innovative Ice Cream Prototype.

IDFA said attendee judges recognized seven entrants in the Most Innovative Ice Cream Flavor category:


  • First Place: Kemps — Scotcheroo. Inspired by the much-loved homemade cookie bar treat, it features swirls of peanut butter, oatmeal cookie chunks, and chocolate fudge chunks in a butterscotch ice cream.
  • Second Place: Baskin-Robbins Dunkin’ Brands Inc. — Bourbon Street Pecan Pie. The creation features bourbon butter pecan-flavored ice cream with roasted pecans, pie crust pieces and a bourbon caramel-flavored swirl.
  • Third Place: Hudsonville Ice Cream — Hazelnut Cinnamon Bun. It has a fresh-from-the oven taste of cinnamon bun-flavored ice cream swirled with a ribbon of rich hazelnut fudge and sweet cinnamon bun pieces.

Others recognized

  • Perry's Ice Cream — Oats Cream Snickerdoodle.
  • Publix Super Markets Inc. — Irish Creme Salted Caramel.
  • Tillamook County Creamery Association — Sea Salt & Honeycomb Toffee Frozen Custard.
  • Wells Enterprises Inc./Blue Bunny — Chocolate Donut.

Judges recognized five entrants in the Most Innovative Ice Cream Novelty category, IDFA said:


  • First Place: Tillamook County Creamery Association — Chocolate Mudslide Waffle Cone Sandwich. The treat features rich chocolate ice cream made with dark chocolate fudge chips and a thick fudge ripple placed between two perfectly crisp chocolate waffle cone cookies.
  • Second Place: Wells Enterprises Inc./Blue Bunny — PB Mallow Mania Loaded Sundae. This is a fun-filled sundae cup of peanut butter ice cream, peanut butter and marshmallow swirls, peanuts, chocolaty peanut butter and marshmallow bunnies.
  • Third Place: Beyond Better Foods LLC — Dairy Free Monkey Business. This ”a-peel-ing” stick novelty is made with almond “milk” to create a banana frozen dessert with swirls of peanut butter and chocolate chips.

Others recognized

  • Kemps — Unicorn Swirl IttiBitz.
  • Perry’s Ice Cream — Blueberry Grape Yo Buddies.

In the most popular category for participants, the Most Innovative Prototype Flavor category, judges this year recognized 23 unique flavors:


  • First Place: Kerry — Bramble Brandy Crumble. This is a hybrid frozen dessert made with half dairy and half oat-based dairy alternative, flavored with dairy-free pie crumble dough, Madagascar vanilla and a blackberry variegate infused with brandies.
  • Second Place: Sensient Flavors — Brown Butter Banana French Toast. This concept combines banana French toast-flavored ice cream with a brown butter-flavored variegate and French toast pieces.
  • Third Place: MD Enterprises Inc. — Chocolate Caramel Pecan Cookie Crunch. This concept features chocolate ice cream with a caramel variegate and pecan and chocolate chip pieces.

Others recognized

  • Agrana Fruit US — Lavender Berry Bliss.
  • Balchem/Sensory Effects — Belgian Chocolate Irish Cream Crunch.
  • Baskin-Robbins | Dunkin’ Brands Inc. — Waffle Cone Crunch.
  • Clasen Quality Chocolate — Espresso Myself.
  • Concord Foods — Breakfast for Dessert (Maple French Toast).
  • Denali Ingredients — Strawberry Graham Forever (oat based nondairy frozen dessert).
  • FONA International — Chocolate Irish Stout.
  • Fruitcrown Products Corp. — Orange Ya Nuts!
  • Gertrude Hawk — Churro.
  • Hudsonville Ice Cream — Fruity Breakfast Cereal.
  • Jogue Inc. — Molten Sea Salt Chocolate with Siracha Variegate.
  • Kemps — Adulting is Hard...Let's be Mermaids!
  • Kerry — Bramble Brandy Crumble.
  • Mane Inc. — Hot Honey Crunch.
  • Parker Products — Tin Cup Whiskey Cake.
  • Pecan Deluxe Candy Company — Dark Chocolate Raspberry Brownie.
  • Perry's Ice Cream — Just Dill With It.
  • Publix Super Markets Inc. — Cookie Butter Crème.
  • Rhino Foods — Spoonbreaker.
  • Star Kay White — Sun, Surf, and HoneyCombs (the beaches)!
  • Synergy Flavors, Inc. — Magical Cereal Milk.

The Ice Cream Technology Conference is the premier event for ice cream and frozen dessert professionals and is the only meeting that focuses specifically on innovations in frozen dessert research, technology and new market trends, IDFA noted. It provides unique opportunities to learn from experts on food safety, labeling and regulations that affect the ice cream and frozen dessert industry.

This year’s program featured talks such as “Why Are Consumers Craving Plant-based Diets?” and “Challenges and Strategies for Formulating Plant-based Frozen Desserts.” Legal experts also presented “FDA Policy and Pathway for Cannabidiol (CBD) in Foods and Ice Cream,” along with a food safety focus on “Control of Listeria in Ice Cream Manufacturing.” The conference also featured networking opportunities, hands-on sessions and product tastings.

IDFA said it would like to thank the sponsors of the 2019 Ice Cream Technology Conference for their generous support. They include Clasen Quality Chocolate, Denali Ingredients LLC, Harry Davis & Company, Rhino Foods Inc., Pecan Deluxe Candy Co., Star Kay White Inc., and Tree Top Inc.