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Most popular ice cream flavors in Japan 2019

Vanilla ice cream was rated the most popular ice cream flavor in Japan in 2019. According to a survey conducted in October 2019, over 27 percent of Japanese respondents chose the vanilla flavored version as their favorite frozen treat.
While classic flavors popular in Western countries, such as chocolate, strawberry or cookies and cream, were also considered crowd pleasers in Japan, traditional Japanese flavorings that might cater to local preferences, such as matcha, adzuki bean or soda, did not fall behind in popularity.

Traditional or traumatizing? Japan’s unique ice cream flavors

In 2019, ice cream was voted the most popular sweet treat among Japanese, relegating all-time favorites, such as cake or chocolate, to second and third place respectively. Japanese sweets, so called wagashi, came in fourth place, with only about five percent of respondents considering traditional desserts their favorite sweet food. However, hybrid products, combining traditional confectionaries with western ice cream culture, are commonly found in Japanese cooling shelves. Apart from traditional flavors, such as black sesame, sweet potato or kinako (roasted soybean powder), ice cream treats inspired by wagashi textures, such as daifuku mochi, count as firm favorites within the domestic ice cream market.
With food trends being repeatedly covered by national and global media, Japan’s love for desserts has been made accessible to international audiences. With that, more daring product releases have entered the market, tempting consumers with flavors such as soy sauce, natto (fermented soybeans), ramen or squid ink.

An overview of the domestic ice cream market

The Japanese ice cream industry generated sales worth over 518 billion Japanese yen in 2018, translating into approximately 929 thousand kiloliters of domestically sold frozen sweet treats. That year, the most commonly sold ice cream type in Japan were family sized multipacks, followed by ice cream served in paper cups. While the country produces the majority of its ice cream demand domestically, imported ice cream brands, such as Häagen Dazs or Baskin Robbins, are trending. However, most overseas ice cream varieties were imported from New Zealand in 2018, followed by products from France and Belgium.

Favorite ice cream flavors among consumers in Japan as of October 2019

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Release date

December 2019



Survey time period

October 24 to 31, 2019

Number of respondents

1,200 respondents

Age group

10-69 years

Special properties

figures only show first choice

Method of interview

Online survey

Supplementary notes

Original question: "Which ice cream flavors do you like? Please rank your three favorite flavors".

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