Gelato Now Mainstream in U.S. Market

For many years, Americans would return from a visit to Italy raving about the food – it’s almost impossible to have a bad meal in Italy. And a big part of every conversation was gelato, which is served on what seems like every block in every city throughout the country.

The eye-popping flavors and creamy texture and full mouth-feel leave lingering after tastes that have you craving more. You immediately swear off bland American ice cream as a pretender and search out the myriad of fresh, natural flavors offered with gelato.

In the past decade, Gelaterias began spreading throughout major U.S. cities. In addition, gelato scoop counters have become a staple in many Italian restaurants, coffee shops and bakeries. They’re also popping up in pizzerias.

The frozen food aisles in grocery stores are a growing source of gelato – led by Talenti which is often referred to as the Chobani of gelato.  Launched in a store in Dallas in 2003, Talenti has blossomed into a national brand with distribution at numerous outlets. Unilever purchased Talenti in late 2014 and is expanding the distribution of the company’s 30 flavors of gelato and sorbet.

Not to be undone, mainstream food giant Nestlé has its own gelato line under the Haagen-Dazs brand.  A Haagen-Dazs gelato had been tested in 2013, but failed catch on.

The popularity of gelato should not be a big surprise: It’s healthier and seen as all-natural with its delicious fresh flavors. Because it contains less air than ice cream, gelato is denser so the flavors are more concentrated. Also, gelato is made with more milk than cream, and therefore has less fat than ice cream.

The healthier aspect of gelato is what’s really resonating with the U.S. market as the Millennial generation is driving the trend toward fresher, natural foods. As a result, Americans are now realizing that they don’t have to travel to Italy to discover gelato in their local neighborhood.