The States That Sell The Most Ice Cream Aren't Where You'd Expect

I scream, you scream, we all scream for one of the tastiest treats known to humankind. Ice cream is a creamy, dreamy, flavorful frozen dessert beloved by people around the world. Americans, in particular, have a hankering for ice cream, as the average consumer eats around 20 pounds of the stuff per year, which is an estimated four gallons, reports International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA). In fact, the ice cream business churned out $9.9 billion in revenue in 2022, according to IBISWorld. So, where in the U.S. are ice cream sales the highest?

Ice cream is typically perceived as a warm-weather indulgence, which makes logical sense on the surface. When the sun is hot, meals, drinks, and snacks should be served cool, right? For this reason, people may assume that folks who live in chronically sunny climates, like Florida, enjoy ice cream the most frequently. However, if you've ever taken a journey to the Midwest, their residents may beg to differ.

The Great Lakes region loves ice cream

Perhaps surprising to some, the states that surround the Great Lakes, namely Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin, collectively make up the nation's most profitable ice cream market, according to Reader's Digest. These freshwater territories have plenty of sweetness to go around, mainly due to the amount of dairy farms in the area.

Wisconsin, for one, is well known as America's Dairyland — and for good reason. In 2021, Wisconsin led the production of milk, one of ice cream's key ingredients, yielding nearly 32 billion pounds. The milk is then sold to cheesemakers and ice cream producers worldwide. Local artisan ice cream makers, including Purple Door in Milwaukee, Kelley Country Creamery in Fond du Lac, and Sassy Cow Creamery in Columbus, are among the most talked about shops throughout the Badger State, per Travel Wisconsin. Additionally, Midwest Living lists Pretty Cool Ice Cream in Chicago, Zingerman's Creamery in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Lick Ice Cream in Indianapolis, and Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams in Columbus, Ohio among the best scoop joints in America's Heartland.

As far as favorite ice cream flavors go, Moose Tracks and chocolate chip are the varieties most people have in that region.