WHEN President Ronald Reagan proclaimed July of 1984 to be National Ice Cream Month, and the third Sunday National Ice Cream Day, there were those who suggested that maybe the President had lost the plot.
But it was the result of some very clever lobbying by the American dairying and ice cream industries, both of which were hurting from then-tough economic times, and desperately needing a kick-start to help them get moving again.
And it paid off. Sales of ice cream and frozen dessert products across America skyrocketed – not just during 1984’s National Ice Cream Month and Day, but for years to come, ballooning from a modest 3,357 million litres of their products worth the equivalent of AU$4.6 billion, to an astonishing 5.8 billion litres of sales worth a staggering AU$51 billion this year. That’s right, billion. And in a year.
The industry dreamed-up new flavours too, so while old-faithfuls like vanilla, choc chip, Neapolitan and rocky road will always be there, in America you can also tuck into such bizarre unknowns to us as bacon flavoured ice cream, crab, garlic, oyster, squid ink, strawberry-rhubarb, honey roasted peanut butter, grape and nut, and caramel cheesecake flavoured ice creams – to name a few.
And one of the most off-beat of all, Superman Ice Cream that was created in a store in Michigan in the super-hero’s colours: a swirl of blue, red and yellow, with the blue being vanilla flavoured, the red cherry flavoured and the yellow banana flavoured.
All whipped together and served rainbow-like in a cone or cup, or as a separate scoop of each piled into those cones or cups.