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Ice Cream Trucks: Are They Still All The Rage?

"Ice cream is the answer to all of life's problems." ~ Unknown

Eating Ice Cream


Have you ever pondered the thought of building and running a food-based business? Ice cream trucks are a big market in America these days. Industry sales are near $1.48B and growing upwards of $3B annually. Why would a food blogger discuss the cost of a food-based start-up? Whether it be a restaurant, farm, or fishing company, we go into business because of passion. But we all know profitability and sound, safe product leads us toward a long-term sustainable business model. Artisanal ice cream is an excellent food truck product free from stabilizers and preservatives, selling at higher prices and better margins They are organic or all-natural, and consumers now ask for more health-conscious products. It makes good sense.

Dating back to the 1920s, Good Humor put the first ice cream trucks on the road. The trucks move around cities and towns, posting on “Socials,” adding specials and joining the crowds in front of office buildings, breweries, and music festivals. Which begs the question, who runs these trucks? How many are on the road each day? Is it worth a shot to become an ice cream entrepreneur? Today, the goal is to focus on calculating the cost of setting up the business.

Ice Cream Truck

Ice Cream Truck Footprint

Food businesses are a seven-day-a-week operation, and you must be in your truck daily. It is essential to study the market before investing in equipment or inventory. Today, there are 36,324 food trucks in the United States. Out of this number, about 6% are ice cream trucks selling cold treats to you and me. California, Texas, and Florida are the top states with the most trucks. So, where do we start?

Ice Cream on a Stick

The Cost Of Starting Ice Cream Truck Business

It’s best to figure out what it might cost on the back of an envelope or cocktail napkin, no joke. At least you’ll have a basic idea of start-up costs and inventory for Year #1. Maybe take a look at the option of franchising with a name brand where you can align your philosophies. Once you have evaluated costs for your state and region, marketing research begins.

Estimated Start-Up Costs

Ice Cream Inventory

Making your product can be expensive at first. Artisanal ice cream is typically a small-batch product, and it comes in seasonal flavors - the producer always offers a vanilla and chocolate option. First, learn about your market and research who makes wholesale artisanal ice cream in your region. Then, visit the ice cream companies, taste, and sort out a partnership that makes sense for both parties. Eventually, you could work to white-label signature flavors and specials if you maintain the volume. For example, if you live in the Atlanta area, High Road Craft Ice Cream & Sorbet offers flavors like Pistachio Honey Ricotta and some private-label product innovation, too!

Food Truck

Wrapping It Up

When walking into a business opportunity, be ready to take risks and learn your market. Ask questions to understand price points, better business operating costs, and focus on what the customer wants. Use your social media platform to poll customers to identify new flavors, offer pop-ups, and cater for birthdays. ⧫

Ice Cream Sign

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