Summertime wouldn't be complete without ice cream, but after decades of dominating the market as America's favorite frozen dessert, ice cream's reign appears to be coming to an end.
According to The Daily Ticker, innovative competition and healthy trends are playing against the industry. Ice cream sales are poised to hit their lowest level this year as consumption rates continue to drop.
Today, Americans consume an average of 11.6 quarts of the frozen dairy treat, down 13 percent since 2002.
Instead of reaching for ice cream, a number of consumers are reaching for frozen yogurt instead. Between 2011 and 2012, the number of "froyo" shops featuring frozen yogurt soared by 24 percent. During the same time, the number of ice cream outlets fell.
"Ice cream isn't likely to go away, but it's been struggling," Darren Tristano, executive vice president at Technomic, told The Daily Ticker. "We're seeing a lot more novelties at the retail level."
It's not just frozen yogurt that's pulling away ice cream lovers -- consumers are also enjoying gelato, Italian ice, custard, smoothies and other frosty concoctions.
The ice cream industry isn't ready to wave the white flag just yet. More chains are trying to regain their "cool" factor by establishing gourmet flavors or expanding into ice cream cupcakes, another niche in today's market. Read, "The Decline of an All-American Treat."
CBS News reports that funky ice cream flavors are bringing some foodies back. Creative flavors include beef, pizza, corn on the cob, avocado, and pear blue cheese. Read more here.