The world is full of grape-flavored beverages, popsicles, jellies, and even medicines, but for some mysterious reason, grape-flavored ice cream is harder to find. In a recent interview with Thrillist, Ben Cohen, co-founder of ice cream company Ben & Jerry's, helped to shed some light on the reason behind the dearth.
Contrary to all the popular (and slightly absurd) conspiracy theories floating around, Cohen’s rationale is purely logistical. Grapes have a high water content, so when you try to use the fruit as a base for ice cream, chunks of that water therein tend to freeze. Chefs whipping up small batches of homemade grape ice cream can avoid this problem by pureeing the fruit, but it’s much harder to manufacture large volumes of ice cream when it’s flecked with bits of ice.
Of course, other fruits, like cherries, are also mostly water—and Cherry Garcia is one of Ben & Jerry’s most popular flavors. In short, it’s possible to make fruit ice cream on a larger scale, but the demand has to be there to make the hassle worthwhile (and for that matter, profitable). And as Cohen explained, most people don’t even think to associate grapes with ice cream—so if Ben & Jerry’s made a grape-flavored dessert, it's likely that nobody would buy it. Since cherry and vanilla are such popular flavors, it pays for the company to make Cherry Garcia.
These complications haven’t stopped others from attempting to make and sell their own grape-flavored ice cream. Candy manufacturer Airheads reportedly gave it a whirl, and long ago Ben & Jerry’s attempted a grape ice cream, as well as a “Sugar Plum” ice cream that tasted kind of like grapes. (Neither flavor took off.) In the end, it simply takes a lot of work to make a good grape ice cream—and as long as the public isn’t clamoring to eat it, food giants aren’t clamoring to provide it.