Ice cream, frozen dessert market at $25.1 billion

by Staff
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ROCKVILLE, MD. — Sales of ice cream and frozen desserts were up 2.4% and topped $25.1 billion in 2011, according to market researcher Packaged Facts. In addition, sales are expected to reach $28.6 billion by 2016.

Yet the market for ice cream and frozen desserts is mature with 92% of all U.S. households purchasing such products. As a result, real growth in the market is hard to produce. David Sprinkle, publisher of Packaged Facts, said retailers and food service providers may grow their businesses by creating and marketing products that speak to consumers on an emotional level. There should be an emphasis on localized strategies and niche products that represent true differentiation with integration of new media into the marketing mix, he said.

“Ice cream and frozen desserts are comfort foods that have long provided relatively inexpensive respites from economic woes,” Packaged Facts said in its “Ice cream and frozen desserts in the U.S.” report. “In addition, although it might seem counterintuitive given the post-recessionary fiscal conservatism, many super-premium ice cream and frozen desserts are performing better than the market as a whole.”

Packaged Facts also said snacking trends play positively into the ice cream and frozen dessert market as a consumer survey revealed that among adults who have eaten ice cream and frozen desserts, 44% have eaten packaged regular ice cream as a snack or meal in the past six months. In addition, 27% have eaten ice cream sandwiches, 22% have had ice cream from a scoop shop and 20% have had packaged ice cream cones as a snack or meal in the past six months.

The market is also competitive with Nestle and Unilever dominating the market. But there are hundreds of regional and local competitors the industry giants go head-to-head with on a fairly even basis in some geographic markets as many of the smaller bands have loyalty of generations of customers.

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