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Who is the Target Market for an Ice Cream Business?

Target for a Ice Cream Business

It’s a hot summer day, and you’re craving a sweet. What do you grab? Ice cream of course! Kids and adults alike love this sweet treat. In the tantalizing world of sweet treats, ice cream stands as a universal pleasure. Its appeal crosses age, geography, and culture. So why not make a living from it? Harnessing this appeal into a thriving business requires understanding the dynamics of the ice cream industry’s target market.

An ice cream business can yield some sweet profits. But before starting your venture, you’ll want to know who your target market is. As an ice cream business owner, the task of grasping your target market’s preferences and habits goes beyond mere guesswork.

This article illuminates the ins and outs of the ice cream industry’s consumer base, encapsulating various demographics and customer preferences that drive sales. From children who crave the newest, most vibrant flavors, to adults seeking a nostalgic or gourmet experience, and health-conscious consumers desiring low-sugar or vegan alternatives—each segment requires different marketing strategies.

Dig into the details of the target market for an ice cream business.


Types of Ice Cream Businesses

Before getting into the target market for an ice cream business, let’s first look at the type of frozen treat businesses out there. Understanding the type of ice cream businesses there will help you better define the customers that will be the most interested in your product. It will also help you focus on the type of target market you can choose to focus on first.

Ice Cream Parlor

Starting an ice cream parlor or store shouldn’t be done without in-depth research. Of course, you could create your concept for a store with your ice cream with your special recipes. This could appeal to customers in your area.

Or, you could look for franchise opportunities to be part of a larger chain. No matter which option you choose, it’s important to investigate who’s already established their presence in the area. Where can customers go for ice cream right now? 

And, if you decide to start a business, why would customers go to your new store? You’ll need to think carefully about how you would stand out, who your target market would be, and why customers would come to you instead. Not thinking through this question is one reason why new businesses of all types often fail within the first five years.

Ice Cream Truck

Another option is an ice cream truck. This is perfect if you think you want to be in business on your own without hiring additional staff. 

And, if you’d rather not create your own recipes or worry as much about marketing from the ground up, you can align yourself with a company that’s already in business.

Mister Softee, for example, offers franchise opportunities. This provides instant brand recognition, but it doesn’t come without a cost. Before investing in any type of franchise, you’ll need to investigate the fees and other requirements.

If you start a food truck – whether it’s completely original or part of a franchise – you’ll need to consider the time commitment. Crunch the numbers to ensure that you’re willing to put in the time – which could be years – to not only pay for your initial investment but to also become a profitable business.

Ice Cream Sales/Catering

Do you have your own secret recipe for the world’s best ice cream? If so, you could try selling your ice cream. You can build your customer base gradually, one satisfied customer at a time.

Many successful businesses have had humble beginnings but experienced exponential growth over time. In many cases, cultivating a positive reputation and offering a quality product is the recipe for success. Once your business has grown a loyal following, you can collaborate with other businesses to increase your customer base.


Target Market for an Ice Cream Business

1. Children

Do you remember the sound of an ice cream truck from childhood summers? That sound calls out to all and also warns parents that their kids may be begging for money for the ice cream man.

And, while it may be the parents who have the money, the ice cream industry is heavily reliant on children as a key demographic. Kids are a huge target market. 

And it’s in this phase of life that lifelong customers can be made. It’s in the childhood years that kids are discovering what their favorite ice cream flavors are, and some of these preferences remain the same as they mature into adults. 


2. Teenage Girls


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Teenage girls are another key demographic for a successful ice cream business. As they pivot from their childhood years into their teen years, their menu preferences typically change. While they may have favored chocolate, rocky road, or peanut butter cup ice cream in the past, adolescence starts to further shape their needs and desires. 

Teen girls may opt for frozen yogurt rather than ice cream, so it’s important to keep this in mind. 

And, there’s a clear distinction between what teen girls prefer and what teen boys prefer. So, if you’re thinking of the teen female customer, think frozen yogurt first instead of ice cream.


3. People Who Seek Permissible Indulgence

Ice cream is often thought of as a guilty treat, but it doesn’t have to be. Now more than ever, there are ways of enjoying ice cream, without your health taking a hit. Here are some emerging trends in the world of ice cream:

  • Calorie Count- Some manufacturers are clearly labeling the calorie count on the front of the pint, so consumers know exactly how to fit it into a healthy lifestyle. 
  • In Good Spirits- Want an “adult” beverage with your ice cream? You can pick up some ice cream that also contains some whiskey or vodka.
  • Protein-Powered-Whether you’re powering through a marathon or just powering through another workweek, protein can give you strength. An ice cream that contains extra protein can give you a boost while you treat yourself.
  • Plant-Based-Demand for vegan products across all food categories is increasing. Ice cream is no exception. Vegan ice creams are emerging as a viable alternative to those that typically contain milk.


4. Females Age 18 – 35 for Frozen Yogurt

Which would you rather have: ice cream or frozen yogurt? While you might prefer ice cream, frozen yogurt – also known as froyo – can be an equally tasty treat. 

While both products contain sugar, frozen yogurt typically has less fat than ice cream. Frozen yogurt also does not have fermented milk products. 

Frozen Yogurt Market size was valued at $1.7 billion last year. Female customers aged 18-35 account for about 42% of frozen yogurt sales. However, those over 51 account for only 7.5 percent of sales. According to some estimations, women account for more than 70% of the industry’s revenue.

For those who are health-conscious, frozen yogurt is often considered the better alternative. So who is most likely to enjoy this treat? Women, ages 18-35, are most likely to consume frozen yogurt.


If you enjoy making people happy, an ice cream business might be for you. However, knowing your target market is critical. You can sell your treats in a store, on a truck, or as a caterer. Doing your research before you start your business will ensure your profits will be sweet.


Erin Shelby on TwitterErin Shelby on Wordpress
Erin Shelby
Team Writer: Erin Shelby is a writer and blogger based in Ohio. Follow her on Twitter @ByErinShelby

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Team Writer: Erin Shelby is a writer and blogger based in Ohio. Follow her on Twitter @ByErinShelby

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