Popsicles are the ultimate in edible luxury during the summer months, and what’s even better is that they can be plant based, gluten free, sugar free and even healthy. Popsicles were reportedly invented in 1905 when 11-year old Frank Epperson accidentally left a container of powdered soda and water, with a mixing stick inside, on his San Francisco porch overnight. All it took was an unexpectedly cold night for the popsicle to be born—which Epperson would commercially debut as an Epsicle in 1923. Epperson’s children eventually convinced him to file a patent for the frozen treat under the name popsicle.
More than 2 billion popsicles are currently sold each year. Here are this summer’s biggest trends.
A GlobalData survey conducted in December 2020 revealed that more global consumers are influenced by how ethical, socially responsible and environmentally-friendly a brand is.
Some earth friendly brands in the popsicle space include Noto, GoodPop and Chloe’s.
Noto’s low calorie and vegan ice popsicles consist of 40 per cent fresh unsweetened fruit, stevia, erythritol, vitamin C and prebiotic fibre. They have no added colour or sugar. GoodPop Organic Freezer Pops consist of 100% organic juice with no added sugar in flavors such as Dreamy Orange Push Pops, Coldbrew Latte and Strawberry Shortcake. Chloe’s Oatmilk Pops come in three varieties with Cookies and Cream being the most popular, allowing consumers to ditch the dairy and lower their carbon food print.
GoodPop went 100% plant-based last year, and rebranded its packaging to draw attention to its mission: “Pledge Good. Do Good. Feel Good.”
“GoodPop has redefined the frozen novelties category with its delicious, unique flavors, better-for-you products and elevated sourcing standards, all while using frozen treats as a vehicle to do social and environmental good,” said GoodPop’s Chief Operating Officer Rahul Shah in a recent interview with Food Business News. “With plant-based novelties being the fastest growing segment in the ice cream category and online ice cream sales booming, people are shopping for and discovering products in new ways.”
These aren’t your gas station or mass market grocery store popsicles. Nope. Think completely out of the box.
Stoyn, a Russian advertising agency known for its line of ice pops based on iconic characters such as Marilyn Monroe and Darth Vader, celebrated its tenth anniversary this year by releasing a range of sorbet popsicles that look like real fruit on a stick, with flavors such as pineapple, mango, raspberry, apple, and banana; all with nutritive properties.
Locopops in Durham North Carolina is a chic cafe that offers a variety of flavors for both pets and people. Pup pops come with frozen beef and chicken stock and for owners, there are specialty flavors such as Raspberry Hibiscus, Mexican Chocolate and Mighty Mojito.
Popsicles With Side-Benefits
Many of today’s popsicles provide functional ingredients that offer flavor with an added dash of well being.
Yasso Inc. has launched its first incubator brand, Jüve Pops, a functional water-based ice pop infused with vitamins and electrolytes.
Collagen has also become a popular ingredient in many snacks— including popsicles. Collagen-infused snacks and drinks reached sales of $60 million in the U.S. in 2018 (Business Insider) and were debuted at the InStyle Summer Social in July, 2019 in New York City.
There are also popsicles that can help to improve your mood. The Enlightened line of Fruit Infusion popsicles, include mood-boosting herbs and adaptogens, including green tea extract, sage, and lemon balm. Flavors include Coconut + Immunity, Strawberry + Chill, Pineapple + Renew, Watermelon + Soothe and Mango + Boost and are all vegan, gluten-free and made entirely with real fruit.
If you are a DUI type of person, there are a variety of online recipes for alcohol-based popsicle treats, including Strawberry Mojito Popsicles, Miami Vice Boozy Popsicles (a combination between a strawberry daiquiri and pina colada), Snap Spice Coconut Popsicles and Luscious Boozy Popsicles with Raspberries and Mint. According to the experts, the trick for boozy popsicles is in the ratio of juice to liquor: 4 ounces to 1 ounce.
Your favorite restaurant might have also started serving popsicles in popsicle liquor drinks. At Mezcalina restaurant bar in Mexico, patrons can order an Oaxaca cocktail, prepared with orange juice and mezcal (a distilled alcoholic beverage made of agave) with a chamoy popsicle (made of a variety of pickled fruit-based savory sauces and condiments) dropped in.
Buzz Pops are the chic way to go if looking for off-the-shelf frozen sorbet push-pops that are vegan with no additives or preservatives. Made with all-natural ingredients and flavors like Chocolate Raspberry and Blueberry Mania, and infused with rum, bourbon or tequila, Buzz Pops clock in at 100 calories with 15% ABV.
Drake’s Organic Spiked Iced Pops are another “healthier” option at 15% ABV and 80 calories made with organic liquor and in Mango Rum Punch, Vodka Lemonade, Watermelon Martini and Classic Mojito flavors.
Popsicles With Unexpected Flavors
Ever considered salty or even spicy-hot popsicles? How about flavors such as cardamom, cilantro and ginger? Many of the most trendy flavors in popsicles come in the most unexpected flavors.
If you have a thing for salt and pickle flavor then Van-Holten’s pickle ice pops are perfect for you. The frozen snack contains two ounces of the healthy, superfood pickle juice. That’s it- just frozen pickle juice!
Outshine popsicles in Mango with Tajin flavor (made of chili peppers, crystalized lime, and salt) have also received rave reviews and the company has even provided its loyal fans with a recipe to turn the ice pop into a drink. Simply throw Outshine Mango with Tajin bars and lime juice into a blender on high and pour in ¼ cup of cold water. Moisten the rim of a glass in chamoy and twist the rim of the glass in Tajin to coat. Swirl the inside of the glass with chamoy, and leave ½ tbsp at the bottom. Pour the blended mixture into a glass and garnish with a fresh Mango with Tajin bar and a tamarind candy straw.
PoPaletas restaurant in Baton Rouge, Louisiana offers its own take on spicy mango flavor ice pops, as well as salty, trail-mix ice cream bars that combine salty with sweet in a homemade ice cream and trail mix ice cream bar.
If there is any word that can be used to summarize this summer’s trends in popsicles, it is authentic.
I wonder what Frank Epperson would say.