Ice cream sales continue to go from strength to strength and the total ice cream market (Take Home and Impulse products combined) hit a record high in 2020, reaching over £1.35 billion, growth of +20% versus the previous year (Nielsen).

Against the backdrop of the Coronavirus pandemic, lockdown restrictions have had a significant impact on sales of Take Home ice cream. With children off school and people working from home, there has been a marked increase in home snacking occasions and a surge in demand for ice cream.

The Convenience channel has also seen a surge in growth as a result of lockdown, benefitting from shoppers preferring to shop locally to avoid travel and larger crowds, helping maintain social distancing. Take Home ice cream sales in Convenience have grown +22.3% YOY, outperforming Total Grocery sales of +21% (Nielsen).

It’s common to see ice cream sales increase sharply with periods of warm weather in the summer but with the ongoing pandemic and tighter lockdown restrictions, we’ve seen uplifts through winter higher than we would normally predict, suggesting a lasting impact on the consumption patterns of consumers.

Henry Craven, Customer Marketing Controller, Froneri, comments: “Wholesalers should focus on the top 5 ice cream sectors (Superpremium Tubs, Chocolate Sticks, Lollies, Everyday Premium Tubs and Ice Cream Cones) which account for over 80% of sales in the Convenience market. Throughout the pandemic many of us have looked for little ways to treat ourselves, so the more indulgent sectors such as Superpremium tubs and Chocolate Sticks have performed especially well, contributing heavily to the value and volume growth in the last year.”

And although consumers have sought comfort in more indulgent products, lollies continue to perform strongly as a sector, having moved from being a summer staple to an all-year-round favourite and the fastest growing of all handheld sectors over the last 5 years, driven by their great value and low calorie permissibility.

“Brands with broad family appeal have done particularly well and as the market leading brand, we’ve seen the Rowntree’s range continue to go from strength to strength, growing 35% YOY,” adds Craven.

“Rowntree’s Fruit Pastille lollies are now the second best-selling product in the total market and a must stock SKU in both Take Home and Impulse formats.”

In the last year, there were over 366 million additional ice cream consumption occasions, astonishing YOY growth of +20% (Kantar) but as we continue to live with Coronavirus, there’s still a lot of uncertainty about how the year ahead will unfold.

“Consumers are likely to be more price conscious, so we feel it’s important to offer our most popular products at an affordable price point,” says Craven. “Cadbury Ice Cream has grown +27% in the year, offering families all their Cadbury favourites in ice cream at more accessible price points compared to competing brands in key family sectors such as ice cream Cones, Sticks and Superpremium tubs.”

To drive this further, Froneri’s Cadbury products are all now available in price-marked packs, helping attract even more shoppers through value perception and in turn helping retailers retain the increased basket spend they have gained in lockdown.

With distinctive new look packaging across the Cadbury range, Froneri is confident the new PMPs will appeal to even more families looking for an indulgent treat. The range will be supported by an all new TV campaign in 2021, heroing the core ice cream range and NPD across TV, digital and social channels together with activation at point of purchase.

The ultimate family dessert, the new Cadbury Dairy Milk Core Tub consists of creamy vanilla ice cream with Cadbury Dairy Milk chocolate pieces throughout and a smooth chocolatey core for an extra bit of indulgence.

And KitKat fans can rejoice with the launch of the KitKat Tub. A chocolate and wafer flavoured ice cream with crunchy wafer pieces mixed in and chocolate sauce swirled throughout. Sharing a tub of KitKat ice cream is the ideal way to take a break and enjoy some family time.

Kat Jones, Marketing Manager, Ice Cream at General Mills, comments: “In 2020, ice cream performed really well; the category grew by 21.1%, seeing a sales increase of +£278M. The pandemic only catalysed what was already a steady rise of the Big Night In occasion, plus the warm weather saw the return of the picnic in the park – two key ice cream consumption occasions.”

With over a third of consumers treating themselves more than ever, luxury ice cream brands, like Häagen-Dazs, are in the ideal position to respond to that demand for extra comfort and pleasure, more relevant than ever in 2021, with new formats and innovations.

General Mills provides retailers, and in turn consumers, with solutions for various needs and consumption opportunities. Its tubs tap into the sharing at-home occasion, while the mini cups provide individual portion-sizes, ideal for those sharing opportunities, while also catering to the mindful consumption trend.

“If people are going to indulge, they’re going to do it well,” says Jones. “Luxury ice cream is a conscious treat spend, we pride ourselves on providing taste enjoyment that delivers every time and that’s what shoppers want; brands that consistently deliver.”

With the appetite we’re still seeing for innovation, and the less-than-ideal circumstances we still find ourselves in, it made sense for General Mills to start 2021 with a bang.

The company recently launched a new 2-in-1 ice-cream; a multi-texture creation in three on-trend flavours: Belgian Chocolate & Vanilla Crunch; Dark Chocolate & Salted Caramel Crunch and Belgian Chocolate & Strawberry. The completely unique proposition is set to significantly drive category value by answering a consumer need for new and exciting consumption experiences.

The hybrid format brings together two contrasting yet complimentary flavours to create one decadent tub and responds directly to research that shows innovation is what 53% of luxury ice cream shoppers are calling out for (Nielsen). With 62% of consumers claiming they would buy the flavour, retailers can expect to see the product deliver a sales uplift, driving incremental sales by upwards of an impressive 19%.

Research shows that product quality and distinctiveness are the most important factors to buyers seeking a luxury experience. The DUO range responds to that demand and provides an ideal offering, tapping into the opportunity to fulfil shoppers’ increased desire for chocolate indulgence, of which 77% of consumers assuage with ice cream (Nielsen).

Ben & Jerry’s has launched Ben & Jerry’s Cookie Dough Peace Pop.

The ice cream innovator has reimagined its best-selling Cookie Dough flavour so dough lovers can enjoy on the move. Combining vanilla ice cream with chocolate chips, a peace shaped, cookie-dough-inspired centre and dipped in a thick chocolatey coating – not only does it taste euphoric, but like the full Ben & Jerry’s line up – it’s also Fairtrade certified.

Even better, the Cookie Dough Peace Pops will be on a wooden stick and nestled into a first of its kind tie dye wrapper. Made with 88% paper, the ice cream wrapper is widely recyclable.

Ben & Jerry’s has already made steps with its responsible and sustainable packaging mission, with tubs which now contain 40% less plastic, and plastic that is used is now made from a renewable plant source.

Madeleine Boulton, UK Brand Manager for Ben & Jerry’s said: “We love to invent new ways for flavour fans to enjoy the ice cream they know and love. We can’t wait to bring a cookie dough inspired treat to retailers on a stick, which ice cream fans can enjoy on the go, anywhere and everywhere. We’re happy that each Cookie Dough Peace Pop is on a wooden stick, and with an all new, recyclable wrapper made with 88% paper. This means that our fans can dispose of all packaging responsibly (only after they have enjoyed every-last-chocolatey-bite).”

Ben & Jerry’s has always stood for peace, love and ice cream and just like the original Peace Pops introduced back in 1988 to campaign for peace initiatives, the ice cream activists continue to raise a stick for justice and equality today.

Ben & Jerry’s Cookie Dough Peace Pop has an RRP of £2.20 for a single and £3.99 for the 3 stick multipack.

The move is part of Unilever’s wider global packaging commitment to halve the company’s use of virgin plastic as well as to ensure all their packaging is reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025.

Birds Eye is expanding its Captain Birds Eye range of premium fish, with two new coated Pollock fillet variants. Using Deep Skinned Alaska Pollock for a higher quality and more “Cod-like” appearance, the new products will emphasise the health benefits of the fish on pack.

Available now, the new Lighted Dusted Fish Fillets will be available in two coatings, lemon & cracked black pepper, and sea salt & rosemary.

Annalisa Fanali, General Marketing Manager Fish at Birds Eye, said: “We know shoppers are increasingly looking to improve their health and wellbeing. We want to educate shoppers on the benefits of Pollock as a source of Omega 3, which plays an important part in maintaining heart health. As the leading brand in frozen fish, we wanted to make a difference to our shoppers’ wellbeing, and give them greater variety to choose from.

“There is a perception that Pollock is of lesser quality when compared to the more traditionally used Cod or Haddock. By evolving part of our Captain Birds Eye range, we’re set on changing this view, using premium, Deep Skinned Alaska Pollock fillets for a whiter and better-quality fish. We’re also highlighting the nutritional benefits on pack, while also ensuring shoppers are excited by the premium and quality taste that is at heart of this range.”

Pollock is a source of Omega 3, which is essential for good health and helps to maintain normal blood pressure and a healthy heart. To highlight this on pack, Birds Eye’s entire Pollock range will now also include a blue heart logo to emphasise how the products are “Good For Your Heart”.

The two products are 100% MSC certified, meaning the fish is responsibly sourced so that Birds Eye can safeguard fish stocks for future generations. The products have an RRP of £3.

 

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