Banana pudding, lemon poppy pound cake and Greek yogurt with strawberries and granola were judged to be the most innovative ice cream flavors at the International Dairy Foods Association's (IDFA) Innovative Ice Cream Flavor Contest. The competition, which showcases the creativity of U.S. ice cream and frozen dessert makers, is part of IDFA’s annual Ice Cream Technology Conference.

Honors for the most innovative ice cream flavor went to Southern Banana Pudding, which captured the nostalgic flavor of banana pudding in an ice cream product. It was entered by Publix Super Markets. Lemon Poppy Pound Cake, an ice cream with lemon poppy seed swirl and pound cake pieces, won most innovative prototype flavor. It was entered by SensoryEffects, a flavor company serving the ice cream and frozen dessert industry. Wells Enterprises, Inc., the maker of Blue Bunny ice cream and novelties, won the most innovative novelty with Greek Strawberry with Granola, a Greek frozen yogurt bar with a strawberry swirl and granola coating.

"Flavors that captured the taste of popular snack foods such as peanut butter s’mores, caramel popcorn, mini doughnuts, vanilla malted pretzels and cotton candy were popular this year,” said Cary Frye, IDFA vice president for regulatory and scientific affairs. “We also sampled some new tastes that added heat to ice cream product, including Mexican ‘Hot’ Chocolate and Sweet Fire Ice Cream. This contest is a great way to spot new trends and highlight the industry's creativity."

The contest, sponsored by Dairy Foods magazine, is a popular session at the annual conference. There were 31 total entries, making it a record field for the second year in a row. Conference participants served as the judges.

This year, 134 dairy professionals participated in IDFA’s Ice Cream Technology Conference, which took place April 8-9 at the Renaissance Vinoy Resort & Golf Club in St. Petersburg, Fla

In addition to the contest, attendees were inspired by rising star pastry chef Christina Tosi of the Momofuku Milk Bar restaurant in New York City, heard presentations on how to harness the popularity of protein in ice cream and frozen desserts, new freezing technology, and received updates on changes in federal regulations that could affect the ice cream and frozen dessert industry. This year attendees also participated in a hands-on Flavor Creation Showcase, presented by three suppliers, that let them taste and try different vanilla, fruit and bakery flavorings.

The Ice Cream Technology Conference focuses specifically on frozen dessert research, technology, new market trends, food safety, labeling and marketing opportunities.

A complete list of contestants is available here.