Consumers face tighter shopping budgets, and they have become increasingly more cost-conscious and are being attracted to value-driven offers in grocery retailers, but ice cream is regarded as a permissible affordable treat and has been able to withstand any negative effects of the recession.
Indeed, there is growing demand for indulgent ‘treats’ in the British diet and the £1.3 billion ice cream market is tapping into this demand with growing sales of luxury and premium ice creams at the expense of standard varieties. 14m adults buy ice cream as a treat.
Value sales of ice cream increased by 8% between 2007 and 2009 to reach an estimated £1.3 billion in 2009. With the effects of inflation removed, value sales fell by 3.1% over this period in real terms. However, following the improved summer temperatures in 2009, value sales are expected to grow by 3.2% in real terms. Volume sales, however, fell by 2.8% between 2007 and 2009 as retailers altered their promotional strategies, moving away from BOGOFs to money-off deals, and there was a shift away from 2-litre tubs of ice cream.
Meanwhile, the Mintel research shows there are also unexploited opportunities for sorbets and frozen yogurts (part of the ‘healthy’ ice cream sector valued at £47m), as an estimated 21m and 23m adults respectively do not buy these products. Non-buyers tend towards over 45-year-olds in the less affluent C2DE group.
The exclusive research also reveals that demand for ice cream is not only centred on summer. Two fifths of consumers claim to eat ice cream all year round, hence manufacturers of ice creams, sorbets and frozen yogurts are trying to deseasonalise their product ranges.