It was ice cream that won the hearts of that many survey respondents. And with that many fans showing up for one dessert above all others, you might be wondering why.
In 2018, CNN pushed researchers who studied the chemical appeal of ice cream to explain the widespread love for the product. The main factors, perhaps unsurprisingly, are sweetness, butterfat, and the melt of the ice cream. The sweetness is the drive for the craving, but the fat gives weight to the flavor, delivering the impression of having been satisfied by the scoop.
More interestingly, however, is that people can grow addicted to a specific brand’s take on the ice cream flavor. Even if a competitor attempted to exactly recreate and ice cream recipe, it would likely fail to sway devotees.
On a psychological level, Jessica Gross explores a pet theory of hers in Food & Wine that the reason behind our obsession is that eating ice cream transports us back to memories from childhood or infancy: “I think ice cream is the grown-up version of breast milk, what many of us turn to for the ultimate solace in moments we feel lost or overwhelmed or afraid.” Perhaps that is a bit much for some, but it is clear that for whatever reason, most of us would reach for a bowl of ice cream over any other dessert if given the choice.