Indulgence, decadence driving U.S. ice cream category

by Keith Nunes
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LONDON — Despite a past focus on reduced fat and health, the desire to indulge motivates 47% of ice cream consumption in the United States as consumers want to treat themselves with novel flavors. The bottom line, according to the market research firm Canadean, is U.S. consumers view ice cream as an indulgent treat that offers escapism.

In its report “Consumer trends analysis: Understanding consumer trends and drivers of behavior in the U.S. ice cream market,” Canadean noted that while value plays a role in the purchase of ice cream, manufacturers should remember that the primary reason for consumption is the desire to indulge and consumers fear cheaper products may involve a trade-off of taste.

“Manufacturers should extend their portfolios to offer premium products to meet the demand for luxury indulgence, combining sweet and savory flavors such as the heat of chili or a soft hint of elderflower, and sorbet textures for those consumers looking for more novel experiences at home,” said Joanne Hardman, an analyst with Canadean.

Health has little influence on the consumption of ice cream in the United States, according to Canadean. Consumers disregard any concerns about health when it comes to consumption, with ice cream being perceived as a treat or reward during consumers busy lives.

Health-conscious consumers will either avoid ice cream completely or reduce their consumption, opting for healthier food categories to consume. When they do indulge in ice cream, they will look for decadent products and moderate their consumption, choosing smaller portion sizes which reduce the guilt factor.
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