Study: Not As Many People Screaming for Ice Cream

Consumers will be looking for ways to keep cool this summer, but they won’t necessarily be screaming for ice cream, according to a recent study from Chicago-based Mintel.

The 2009 “Ice Cream and Frozen Novelties” report shows that frozen treat sales continue to be flat. Growth the past two years was 1 percent compared with 3.6 percent in 2006 and more than 4 percent from 2003 to 2005.

Frozen yogurt/tofu is the strongest performer in the category, experiencing gains greater than 13 percent in 2008. Mintel forecasted continued growth in this segment through 2013. “This segment will grow both because it opens up the market to added distribution space outside of the usual ice cream and frozen novelties aisle, and because it reflects an important consumer trend toward interest in non-dairy products,” the report summarized.

Ice cream sales, a segment that still dominates the total market share at 60 percent, declined by 1.1 percent while the sherbet, sorbets and ices segment grew only 0.5 percent. Frozen novelty sales, meanwhile, saw a 2 percent to 3 percent increase.

Low-fat claims were the most important for consumers in terms of health, according to the findings. Forty-two percent of respondents indicated that this was a “somewhat important” or “very important” factor. However, there is still a strong split between the health-oriented and indulgence-oriented mindsets. One-third of respondents said that health claims were unimportant in regard to their purchasing decisions. Two-thirds believed they would opt for frozen yogurt more often if the flavor/variety available for products was more robust.

“Heath claims based on added health, rather than elimination/reduction, such as sugar or fat, [will be key],” said Molly Heyl-Rushmer, senior analyst at Mintel. “Consumers of all ages and health conditions will likely reward manufactures that are able to imbue their ice cream products with health properties while maintaining their good taste.”

- Nielsen Business Media
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