July is National Ice Cream Month, says executive editor, Marina Mayer. Find out what processors are doing to celebrate.

July isn’t just for fireworks, baseball, camp and summertime barbeques. July is also National Ice Cream Month.

Nope, not another “hallmark” holiday, although I would greatly prefer a free package of ice cream any day. Instead, July is National Ice Cream Month and the third Sunday of the month (July 17) is National Ice Cream Day, as directed by President Ronald Reagan in 1984.

Maybe it was a political notch to his supply-side economical plan to help boost ice cream sales, or maybe our nation’s 40th president really liked ice cream. Regardless of his plan, this so-called “holiday” has become quite the marketing tool for several ice cream processors.

“According to The International Ice Cream Association [a constituent organization of the International Dairy Foods Association, Washington, D.C.], the U.S. ice cream industry generates billions in annual sales and provides jobs for thousands of citizens,” says Ellen Schack, founder and CEO of Cowabunga Ice Cream. “They report that about 9% of all the milk produced by U.S. dairy farmers is used to produce ice cream, contributing significantly to the economic well-being of the nation's dairy industry.”

The Forked River, N.J., processor celebrates National Ice Cream Month with a bevy of super premium designer ice cream and frozen yogurt options, and recently went national with its distribution offerings.
“Cowabunga Ice Cream elevates the ice cream experience from ordinary to extraordinary by combining divine premium ingredients with distinctive flavors that leave our customers longing for more,” says Schack. “While our inspired ice cream blends are ultra rich and luxurious on the palate, our brand uniquely blends this exquisite epicure experience with the fun and relaxed sensibility of surfing and beach culture. This I what I call the ‘Cowabunga lifestyle,’ which translates to living life to the fullest and in abundance until it overflows.”

Offerings in its current designer ice cream line include Rodeo Drive designer flavors (cookie dough, New York cheesecake, mint chocolate chip, cake batter, almond joy and coffee espresso); Off 5th Avenue chocolate flavors (classic chocolate, death by chocolate and chocolate peanut butter); Lux vanilla flavors (very vanilla, Rice Krispy treat and Take 5, which is a blend of vanilla ice cream with peanuts, caramel and chocolate-covered pretzels); and Beverly Hills R.E.A.L. yogurt in red velvet cake, peanut butter, chocolate cable car and strawberry flavors.

Turkey Hill Dairy, Conestoga, Pa., will be celebrating all month with its blog, the Ice Cream Journal, which provides a new ice cream fact per day and a photo featuring a fan with Turkey Hill ice cream. Fans are encouraged to submit photos to icecreamjournal@gmail.com. If your photo is posted, you will receive free Turkey Hill ice cream. Speaking of free, one comment from the blog will be chosen at random to receive a free container of Turkey Hill's finest.

Ice cream fun facts
Each American consumes a yearly average of 23.2 quarts of ice cream, ice milk, sherbet, ices and other commercially produced frozen dairy products, according to a recent study by Chicago-based Mintel.

Other fun facts include:
•    The Northern Central states have the highest per capita consumption of ice cream at 41.7 quarts. 
•    More ice cream is sold on Sunday than any other day of the week.
•    Ice cream and related frozen desserts are consumed by more than 90% of households in the United States.
•    Ice cream consumption is highest during July and August.
•    The most popular flavor of ice cream in the United States is vanilla (27.8%), followed by chocolate (14.3%), strawberry (3.3%), chocolate chip (3.3%) and butter pecan (2.8%). (Source: The NPD Group's National Eating Trends In-Home Database)
•    Children ages 2-12 and adults age 45 plus eat the most ice cream per person.
•    The average number of licks to polish off a single-scoop ice cream cone is approximately 50.