Why The Ice Cream Man May Be The Next Victim Of Inflation

Ice cream trucks came into being in the 1920s, when Prohibition left people searching for another way to indulge. According to Country Living, these early trucks sold treats like ice cream bars and popsicles because they were easy to eat while walking down the street. 

Over the next few decades, other ice cream truck companies formed, each with their own specialties. While the first ice cream truck company, Good Humor, was famous for its ice cream pops, another company, Mister Softee, became known for its soft serve and sprinkles. Present-day company Big Gay Ice Cream Truck entices customers with crazy ice cream toppings, like pumpkin butter and sriracha (via Mental Floss).

But as much as we love ice cream trucks and the catchy jingle that signals their approach — especially during the summer — they may not be around much longer. Between the pandemic and rising gas prices, many ice cream truck companies are in danger of melting away into history.

Inflation has hit the ice cream truck industry hard

Until more recently, ice cream trucks — and all food trucks, for that matter — were often a cheaper alternative compared to opening a brick-and-mortar shop. However, as NPR notes, the success of these trucks requires traveling and gas prices have skyrocketed. In fact, according to The Boston Globe, one company's fuel costs have doubled over the past year. Countless other ice cream truck businesses are in the same situation, as it becomes more expensive to stay on the road.

It's not just gas prices that are impacting these business owners. Ice cream truck owners also have to account for the rising cost of ice cream, toppings, and parts for their vehicles should they need repairs (via The New York Times). Supply chain issues have also made some of these products difficult to find or get ahold of in a timely manner, making it even more difficult to stay in business. All things considered, don't be surprised if you don't see many ice cream trucks this year.