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Spring 2022 Ice Cream Category Update

While cold weather perpetuated across the country, delaying spring’s arrival, it did not delay food inflation.  With warmer weather now in sight, retail prices of packaged ice cream and novelties have heated up as well.  Rising retail prices are buoying category dollar sales and contributing to declines in unit purchases. Category unit sales are down nearly 3% the 12-week period ending 4/23/22, while dollar sales were flat (Nielsen xAOC Total US).

In inflationary times, consumers become more active in managing their grocery bills. Thus, consumers begin to seek stronger value propositions.  We are seeing evidence of this at the register, with significant growth in private label/own brand. Dollar sales for private label were up 3.6% for the 12-week period ending 4/23/22, and unit sales were also up 3.6% (Nielsen xAOC Total US).  In addition to inflation, continued supply chain and labor issues are creating select out of stock challenges.

Good news: packaged ice cream and novelties remain an affordable indulgence.  Consumers are finding that enjoying tasty frozen treats are inherently good for your overall happiness and wellbeing.  According to a recent Mintel study, ice cream and novelties are a “justifiable indulgence” (Ice Cream & Frozen Novelties Report 2022). The study also indicated that the primary motivator for purchase is the flavor, followed by value.  Other key motivators are snackability as well as smaller formats (pints, bites, singles, etc.).  Consumers can, at times, resonate with higher quality, justifying a higher purchase price. This can also be true with co-branded flavors and licensed flavors, such as Moose Tracks.

Consumers will continue to reward themselves with tasty frozen treats.  Here’s to a hot, happy summer filled with sweet indulgence!