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A Not-So-Average Day In Economics: Ice Cream makes its Big Debut

Updated: Jun 24, 2023


On this day, back in June 15, 1851, Jacob Fussell opened the first ice cream factory, and, in my humble opinion, made the world a much happier place. At the time, Fussell was faced with a surplus of cream, and, as a response, built an ice cream factory in Seven Valleys, Pennsylvania, where he shipped it to Baltimore by train. He eventually set up a factory in Baltimore, and the business flourished. His contribution earned him the title of “The Father of the Ice Cream Industry,” or, for me, my personal hero.

Jacob Fussell: The pioneer of the ice cream industry and my personal hero

From the humble days of hand-cranking out these sweet, and delectable treats, the ice cream industry has grown to $13.1 billion, and provides 28,800 direct jobs. In 2022, ice cream makers in the U.S. alone churned 1.38 billion gallons of ice cream. Good times indeed!

Yum! So much ice cream! And this is only a fraction of what the U.S. produces annually

The ice cream industry has not only given joy to ice cream fans during the summer months when sales are at its peak, but it has also given joy to many people during bad times, too. During the pandemic, sales of ice cream shot up in all categories. Retail sales of ice cream rose as much as 30% in some months in 2021 as consumers prepared most of their meals at home. Data also suggests that people tend to turn to comfort foods to stave off the stress the pandemic created and to make a very uncertain situation much more bearable.

In fact, the ice cream industry is quite recession-proof. Ice cream vendors reported that sales increased by 25% between 2009 and 2010 alone, during which most of the economy contracted. In these times of uncertainty, people seek out comfort by consuming something that is familiar to them…i.e. simpler pleasures that make us forget the bad times, even if just for a short time.

So, when someone reaches into the freezer for a pint of this ice cream, it’s simply out of that human need: either to cool off on a hot summer day or to just satisfy that need for some comfort and joy from what could be a bad break-up.


Sources


Photo Credits:

Wikipedia

Missouri Partnership


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