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Is Ice Cream Stepping Out Of Its Consolation Zone?

Who needs ice cream? Effectively, if we have a look at international ice cream consumption, the reply is: virtually everybody! In line with Mintel’s shopper analysis, 9 in ten UK customers loved an ice cream between July and October 2023, and an virtually equivalent quantity was seen in Germany. Frozen treats are additionally omnipresent in freezers throughout the pond, with over 94% of US adults buying ice cream, frozen novelties or frozen yogurt in 2023.

It’s clear that ice cream stays as widespread as ever, and the worldwide ice cream trade is in good well being. Ice cream continues to be loved primarily as a consolation meals for a lot of customers. Within the US, round 9 in ten ice cream customers agree that consuming ice cream brings pleasure once they want a pickup, highlighting the product’s well-established position as an ‘emotional help meals’ for customers. Nevertheless, shopper calls for are altering: customers’ elevated concentrate on wholesome consuming has led to extra scrutiny of meals with historically excessive sugar and fats content material. Equally within the APAC area, there may be a requirement for better-for-you elements and formulations. Naturally, it’s important that ice cream manufacturers reply to shopper demand to keep away from customers turning elsewhere for a candy deal with. On this article, we look at the ice cream shopper developments shaping the trade, and the way manufacturers are responding with ice cream innovation.

What’s a consolation meals?

Consolation meals is a meals that buyers flip to in instances of stress that gives a way of emotional well being and wellbeing. Sometimes, consolation meals are excessive in fats or sugar, energy-dense, and should have comparatively low dietary worth. Fashionable consolation meals embrace crisps, chocolate, and naturally, ice cream.

Discover Mintel’s Intensive Ice Cream Market Analysis

International Ice Cream Business Developments

Placing the ‘enjoyable’ in ‘practical meals’

The previous few years have been a boon for widespread consolation meals, with customers experiencing the heightened stress and nervousness of the COVID-19 pandemic, after which adopted by ongoing financial crises. The ice cream trade was notably well-placed to profit from rising costs and excessive inflation because of the lipstick impact. Ice cream’s positioning as an inexpensive deal with appeals to customers throughout instances of financial disaster.

Nevertheless, because the pandemic, Mintel has discovered there was a international shift in the direction of extra health-conscious consuming. Ice cream manufacturers have due to this fact discovered themselves in a little bit of a quandary. Do they take inspiration from the plant-based trade, embrace dairy options, and concentrate on making a more healthy different to historically indulgent ice cream? Or do they dial up the indulgence, and closely lean into the consolation meals fame? The reply isn’t a easy one. Mintel’s shopper analysis has discovered that it’s unlikely that ice cream may ever set up itself as a very wholesome meals, even amongst customers who’re actively in search of wholesome ice cream: 1 / 4 of Indian customers who’re prepared to pay extra for more healthy ice cream imagine that ice cream can by no means be wholesome. Because of this, ice cream wants to supply permissible indulgence to customers, placing a stability between well being and indulgence. 

Whereas vitamin isn’t a prime precedence when shopping for ice lotions, virtually 1 / 4 of US customers are eager about ice cream with practical well being advantages. Manufacturers are nicely positioned to develop ice cream’s fame as a practical meals by focusing on younger customers who’re eager on excessive protein merchandise, or take inspiration from the booming power drinks sector, and supply a a lot sought-after power kick to customers. Though the practical ice cream market stays fairly small, it’s rising. Mintel’s GNPD information exhibits that ice cream product launches with practical claims elevated by 10% between 2021-2023, highlighting that it’s one thing manufacturers must be contemplating with regards to new product improvement.

Prepared for an journey

Practical elements and added well being advantages will not be the one new options drawing important shopper curiosity within the international ice cream trade. Shoppers are getting extra adventurous, a minimum of with regards to new flavours and textures. Mintel has discovered that there’s a rising curiosity in unconventional ice cream flavours.

Within the APAC area, floral flavours have been gaining curiosity, and half of Thai customers aged 25-34 are eager about making an attempt these flavours. Curiosity can be rising in different non-traditional flavour profiles, similar to savoury, which, based on Mintel’s GNPD information, has seen a rise of over 50% in new product launches since 2021. Nevertheless, regardless of this rising curiosity, non-traditional flavours stay fairly area of interest. As demonstrated within the graph under, floral and savoury flavours have been every solely represented in and fewer than 1% of all international ice cream product launches in 2023. Nonetheless, manufacturers mustn’t low cost shopper curiosity in flavour experimentation, and within the coming years ought to utilise AI to create new and customised style experiences for customers.

Regardless of the rising want for novelty, customers proceed to get pleasure from conventional ice cream flavours, similar to strawberry, vanilla and chocolate. Virtually two-thirds of UK adults agree that there must be extra high-quality ice cream in traditional flavours. This curiosity in greater high quality traditional flavours illustrates how customers need the consolation of familiarity but additionally want enhancements to style and texture high quality on the similar time. Ice cream manufacturers also needs to innovate by placing a twist on acquainted flavours to maintain customers engaged. This may be executed by embracing an previous buddy: nostalgia.

If you want to be taught extra concerning the newest trending flavours within the ice cream trade, strive Mintel’s Flavourscape AI.

Ice Chilly Consolation

Nostalgia is considerably influencing the worldwide ice cream trade; customers throughout varied areas are drawn to flavours and types that remind them of their childhood or previous. Within the UK, consuming ice lotions that evoke childhood reminiscences resonates extensively with customers, notably these below 35, suggesting that advertising centered on nostalgia might be extremely efficient on this market. Nevertheless it’s not simply customers within the UK who’re wanting again to the ‘good previous days’. In India, ice cream manufacturers are connecting with customers by means of nostalgic flavours, notably focusing on older Millennials with seasonal fruit flavours, and in Germany, eight in 10 customers say that they get pleasure from rediscovering flavours that they grew up with, echoing the need for extra ice cream in traditional and nostalgic flavours.

This all highlights that manufacturers ought to significantly contemplate nostalgia as a advertising technique. Providing inspiration for tapping into the attraction of nostalgia, plenty of UK retro manufacturers expanded into the ice cream class in 2023, similar to Barratt’s sweets, Angel Delight and Wrigley’s Hubba Bubba. In the meantime, established manufacturers and market leaders have additionally used nostalgia of their advertising campaigns: Ben & Jerry’s has featured retro merchandise alongside their ice cream of their social media campaigns, and Baskin-Robbins reverted to utilizing colors from their unique emblem of their 2022 rebrand.

If you want to be taught extra about nostalgia as a advertising technique, check out Mintel’s extremely informative Nostalgia Advertising Highlight Article.

Trying Forward with Mintel

Ice cream will all the time be a consolation meals. It’s unlikely that buyers will cease turning to their favorite indulgent frozen deal with in instances of uncertainty within the close to future. Nevertheless, how the idea of ‘consolation’ resonates with customers is altering, and ice cream manufacturers should be acutely aware of various shopper expectations when contemplating new product improvement and advertising campaigns. Some customers wish to be reassured that they aren’t damaging their well being, and even bettering it, when consuming ice cream. Some wish to expertise one thing new, and get a small portion of pleasure by means of a novel flavour. Or some simply wish to really feel the nice and cozy embrace of nostalgia, and it received’t even soften their ice cream.

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