Description

This report explores the ice cream and frozen novelties market in complete detail. Our expert analyzes the market and consumer in over 80 pages of content, diving deep into the market size, share, consumer trends, and opportunities/strategies that brands can utilize today.

Below, we reveal the key topics analyzed in this report, and handpick insights from the full document.

Key Topics Analyzed

  • Types of frozen treats purchased and generational differences in purchase behavior.
  • Purchase location – where consumers shop for ice cream.
  • Attributes of interest – which ice cream/frozen novelties factors sell best.
  • Flavors of interest, including innovation and consumer preferences.
  • Frozen treat occasions – when and how consumers eat ice cream and frozen novelties.
  • Attitudes toward mix-ins and toppings – appeal of customization.

Ice Cream Industry Overview

Ice cream sales saw a 7% increase in 2022 due to stay-at-home orders and record-high inflation. Despite this, sales are expected to dip 6% overall by 2027. 94% of US consumers remain engaged in the category, showing the power of enjoyment and highlighting the need for category players to capitalize on it.

  • Ice cream industry market share: Unilever leads ice cream sales with brands like Ben & Jerry’s, followed by Froneri International Limited (Häagen-Dazs).
  • Ice cream industry market size: Ice cream sales surpassed $17 billion in 2022.

Find a full breakdown of the ice cream industry market share and size inside this report, alongside expert analysis.

Ice Cream and Frozen Novelties Consumer Trends

Frozen treats are a universal purchase, but some groups go a step further

As mentioned above, the vast majority of US adults purchase frozen treats. However, some groups are more likely to partake than others. This report reveals that consumers under age 45, non-White shoppers, parents, and shoppers who are in less comfortable financial situations are all more likely to purchase frozen treats.

Ice cream vs frozen novelties, is the winner clear?

Ice cream leads category participation, but frozen novelties overtook its market share dominance in recent years. Novelty purchases are increasing, likely due to their association with solo eating and expanded consumption occasions. Ice cream shoppers are still engaging with the category, but there is an opportunity to limit future losses for ice cream brands (see “Brand Opportunity”).

Brand Opportunity

Expanding into smaller formats suitable for individual consumption and connecting with everyday moments may help ice cream reduce future losses. For example, the greatest growth in participation and sales was experienced by sherbet/sorbet, due to the introduction of indulgent and thrilling choices.

Continue to explore our expert’s breakdown of the latest market opportunities and competitive strategies inside the full report. Looking for something else? Try our forward-looking Future of Ice Cream Report, or browse our library of food market research.

Products and Companies Discussed

Products: Ice cream/frozen dairy dessert (including gelato), frozen novelties (e.g. ice cream bars, sandwiches, cones, popsicles), frozen yogurt and dairy alternatives, and sherbet/sorbet and ices.

Companies/brands: Froneri International (formerly Nestlé), Tillamook, Oreo, Yasso, Unilever, Halo Top, Oatly, Talenti, and more.

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Expert Analysis from a Food Specialist

This report, written by Michele Scott, a leading food analyst, delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends in the ice cream and frozen novelties market, and adds expert context to the numbers.

Frozen treats enjoy a place of importance in the eyes of US consumers. Even amid price hikes and sugar concerns, 94% of shoppers purchase products in the category, speaking to the power of enjoyment. Brands must capitalize on the value of enjoyment but avoid going too far into treat or indulgence positioning, which can limit relevant occasions.

Michele Scott, Associate Director

 

Michele Scott
Associate Director

Table of Contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
    • This Report looks at the following areas:
    • Definition
    • Market context
  2. Executive Summary

    • Top takeaways
    • Consumer trends
    • Frozen treats are nearly omnipresent in US freezers
      • Figure 1: Frozen treat purchase location – Net – Any frozen treat purchase*, 2023
    • Ice cream continues to lead category participation
      • Figure 2: Frozen treat purchase, 2022-23
    • Top flavor categories of interest point to value of variety
      • Figure 3: Frozen treat flavors of interest, 2022-23
    • Financial hardship leads to reliance on the basics
      • Figure 4: Frozen treat purchase, by financial situation, 2023
    • Competitive strategies
    • Affordability and assurance drive purchase intent
      • Figure 5: Frozen treat launches ranked by purchase intent, 2023*
    • Popularity of chocolate speaks to the value of the familiar
      • Figure 6: Frozen treat launches ranked by the attribute “tasty,” 2023*
    • Frozen treats can’t rest on laurels amid health- and cost-conscious environment
      • Figure 7: Frozen treat launches, by fastest growing claims, 2021-23*
    • Market predictions
    • Inflation keeps dollar sales afloat amid sales stagnation
      • Figure 8: Total US sales and forecast of ice cream and frozen novelties, at current prices, 2017-27
      • Figure 9: Category outlook, 2023-28
    • Opportunities
    • Make it OK to seek personal pleasure
      • Figure 10: Frozen treat statements – Occasion, 2023
    • Empower consumers to share their creations
      • Figure 11: Frozen treat statements – Mix-ins, 2023
    • Natural sugar seekers overindex in purchase of dairy- lactose-free ice cream
      • Figure 12: Frozen treat purchase – Dairy/non-dairy/lactose-free, by sugar segmentation, 2023
  3. Market Size and Forecast

    • Inflation bolsters category gains
      • Figure 13: Total US sales and forecast of ice cream and frozen novelties, at current prices, 2017-27
      • Figure 14: Total US sales and forecast of ice cream and frozen novelties, at current prices, 2017-27
      • Figure 15: Total US sales and forecast of ice cream and frozen novelties, at inflation-adjusted prices, 2017-27
  4. Segment Performance

    • Frozen novelties lead category sales and growth
    • Ice cream performance melts
      • Figure 16: Talenti, Madagascan vanilla bean apple cider float, 2023
    • Frozen yogurt/non-dairy segment remains small, but projected to see largest growth
    • Sherbet/sorbets/ices have an enjoyment problem
      • Figure 17: Total US retail sales and forecast of ice cream and frozen novelties, by segment, at current prices, 2017-27
      • Figure 18: Year-over-year change in total US retail sales and forecast of ice cream and frozen novelties, by segment, at current prices, 2018-27
      • Figure 19: Total US retail sales and forecast of ice cream and frozen novelties, by segment share, at current prices, 2017-27
    • Other channels gain on supermarkets
      • Figure 20: Total US retail sales and forecast of ice cream and frozen novelties, by channel, at current prices, 2022-27
      • Figure 21: Year-over-year change in total US retail sales and forecast of ice cream and frozen novelties, by channel, at current prices, 2018-27
  5. Market Drivers

    • Pursuit of health leads to more restrictive eating
      • Figure 22: Changes in eating habits, 2022
      • Figure 23: Changes in eating habits, 2022
      • Figure 24: Sugar segmentation, 2023
      • Figure 25: Attitudes toward health and indulgence, 2023
    • Reduction in dairy consumption doesn’t mean the end of frozen treats
      • Figure 26: Frequency of food behaviors – Limit your dairy intake (eg milk from animals), 2023
    • Inflation will continue to favor spend on food at home, pursuit of value
      • Figure 27: Changes in Consumer Price Indexes, legacy data, 2020 through 2023
      • Figure 28: Methods for saving money on food and drink, 2023
  6. Key Players

    • Sales of ice cream and frozen novelties by company
    • Froneri International controls one fifth of frozen treat sales at MULO
      • Figure 29: Tillamook Wall Challenge, 2022
    • Sales of ice cream and frozen novelties by company
      • Figure 30: Share of multi-outlet sales of ice cream and frozen novelties, by leading companies, 52 weeks ending February 26, 2023
      • Figure 31: Multi-outlet sales of ice cream and frozen novelties, by leading companies, rolling 52 weeks 2022 and 2023
    • Company/brand sales by segment
    • OREO introduction eclipses other strong frozen novelties gains
      • Figure 32: Private label frozen novelties launches ranked “exciting,” 2023*
      • Figure 33: Multi-outlet sales of frozen novelties, by leading companies and brands, rolling 52 weeks 2022 and 2023
    • Unilever is number one in ice cream
      • Figure 34: Multi-outlet sales of ice cream, by leading companies and brands, rolling 52 weeks 2022 and 2023
    • Oatly gains among a crop of frozen yogurt/non-dairy declines
      • Figure 35: Multi-outlet sales of frozen yogurt/non-dairy, by leading companies and brands, rolling 52 weeks 2022 and 2023
    • Sleepy sherbet/sorbet/ices segment comes alive at MULO
      • Figure 36: Dole Whip, 2023
      • Figure 37: Multi-outlet sales of sherbet/sorbet/ices, by leading companies and brands, rolling 52 weeks 2022 and 2023
  7. Competitive Strategies and Market Opportunities

    • Affordability and trustworthiness drive purchase intent
      • Figure 38: Frozen treat launches ranked by purchase intent, 2023*
    • Store brand equates to value, beware of shortcomings
      • Figure 39: Frozen treat launches ranked by the attribute “good value,” 2023*
    • Chocolate+ drives perceptions of good taste
      • Figure 40: Frozen treat launches ranked by the attribute “tasty,” 2023*
      • Figure 41: Frozen treat launches, by leading flavors (inc. blends), 2023*
    • Fastest growing claims carry more luster than current leaders’
      • Figure 42: Frozen treat launches, by leading claims, 2021-23*
      • Figure 43: Frozen treat launches, by fastest growing claims, 2021-23*
  8. The Ice Cream and Frozen Novelties Consumer – Fast Facts

    • Frozen treat consumption is nearly universal
    • Dairy-based offerings garner the lion’s share of interest
    • Ice cream shoppers increasingly rely on retail
    • Amid cost-saving efforts, flavor and size outweigh price in product choice
    • There’s a social aspect to ice cream, novelties are more of a solo endeavor
    • While mix-ins are enjoyed, consumers like to add their own
  9. Frozen Treat Purchase

    • Any purchase
    • 94% of US adults purchase frozen treats
      • Figure 44: Frozen treat purchase location – Net – Any frozen treat purchase*, 2023
    • Frozen treat format
    • Ice cream continues to lead purchase, followed by frozen novelties
      • Figure 45: Frozen treat purchase, 2023
      • Figure 46: Frozen treat purchase, 2022-23
    • Sherbet/sorbet appeals to older shoppers, women
      • Figure 47: Frozen treat purchase, by gender and age, 2023
    • Financial hardship leads to reliance on the basics
      • Figure 48: Frozen treat purchase, by financial situation, 2023
    • Frozen novelties have a strong audience in natural sweeteners seekers
      • Figure 49: Frozen treat purchase, by sugar segmentation, 2023
    • Dairy/non-dairy/lactose free
    • Dairy continues to dominate interest, non-dairy introduces variety
      • Figure 50: Frozen treat purchase – Dairy/non-dairy/lactose-free, 2023
    • Younger shoppers gravitate toward lactose-free, newer brands meet them there
      • Figure 51: Frozen treat launches featuring a low/no/reduced lactose claim, 2022-23
      • Figure 52: Frozen treat purchase – Dairy/non-dairy/lactose-free, by gender and age, 2023
    • Moms are big fans of popsicles/fruit bars
      • Figure 53: Frozen treat purchase – Dairy/non-dairy/lactose-free, by parental status, 2023
    • Natural sugar seekers overindex in purchase of dairy-/lactose-free ice cream
      • Figure 54: Frozen treat purchase – Dairy/non-dairy/lactose-free, by sugar segmentation, 2023
  10. Frozen Treat Purchase Location

    • Retail frozen treat purchase on the rise
      • Figure 55: Frozen treat purchase location, 2023
      • Figure 56: Frozen treat purchase location, 2022-23
    • Young men are strongest target for foodservice frozen treats
      • Figure 57: Frozen treat purchase location, by gender and age, 2023
  11. Frozen Treat Attributes of Interest

    • Flavor leads frozen treat choice, size outweighs price
      • Figure 58: Frozen treat attributes of interest, 2023
    • Enjoyment is a stronger sell than indulgence
      • Figure 59: Frozen treat statements – Indulgence, 2023
    • Use sales to appeal to women
      • Figure 60: Frozen treat attributes of interest, by gender and age, 2023
    • Women want to feel their investment is worth it
      • Figure 61: Frozen treat statements – Indulgence, by gender and age, 2023
    • Nutritional value and environment influence natural sugar seekers
      • Figure 62: Frozen treat attributes of interest, by sugar segmentation, 2023
    • Flavor rules, but price has outsized impact among financially struggling
      • Figure 63: Frozen treat attributes of interest, by financial situation, 2023
      • Figure 64: Frozen treat statements – Indulgence, by financial situation, 2023
  12. Frozen Treat Flavors of Interest

    • Indulgence has slight edge over health
      • Figure 65: Frozen treat flavors of interest, 2023
      • Figure 66: Frozen treat flavors of interest, 2022-23
    • Frozen novelties are a stronger playground for flavor innovation
      • Figure 67: Frozen treat flavors of interest, by frozen treats purchased, 2023
    • Real fruit top choice for older women, co-branding appeals to young adults
      • Figure 68: Frozen treat flavors of interest, by gender and age, 2023
    • Moms lean into the convenience of indulgence and variety
      • Figure 69: Frozen treat flavors of interest, by parental status, 2023
    • Even indulgence seekers want lower sugar options
      • Figure 70: Frozen treat flavors of interest, by sugar segmentation, 2023
    • Indulgence, variety and assurance soothe financial woes
      • Figure 71: Frozen treat flavors of interest, by financial situation, 2023
  13. Frozen Treat Occasions

    • Frozen treats bring people together, but we’re often alone
      • Figure 72: Correspondence Analysis – Symmetrical map – Occasions, 2023
      • Figure 73: Occasions, 2023
    • Ice cream has room to move from crowd-pleaser to people-pleaser
      • Figure 74: Frozen treat statements – Occasion, 2023
    • Younger consumers more open to smaller ice cream settings
      • Figure 75: Frozen treat statements – Occasion, by gender and age, 2023
    • Ice cream is a way for parents to connect with kids
      • Figure 76: Frozen treat statements – Occasion, by age of children in the household, 2023
  14. Attitudes toward Mix-ins and Toppings

    • Consumers willing to add their own mix-ins
      • Figure 77: Talenti, Easter charcuterie board, 2023
      • Figure 78: Frozen treat statements – Mix-ins, 2023
    • Interactivity/customization appeal to financially struggling
      • Figure 79: Frozen treat statements – Mix-ins, by financial situation, 2023
    • Nuts and swirls lead mix-ins of interest
      • Figure 80: Correspondence Analysis – Symmetrical map – Toppings, mix-ins and add-ons, 2023
      • Figure 81: Toppings, mix-ins and add-ons, 2023
  15. Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

    • Data sources
    • Sales data
    • Forecast
    • Consumer survey data
    • Correspondence analysis methodology
    • Abbreviations and terms
    • Abbreviations
  16. Appendix – The Market

      • Figure 82: Average annual household spending on ice cream and frozen novelties, 2017-27
      • Figure 83: Total US retail sales and forecast of ice cream, at current prices, 2017-27
      • Figure 84: Total US retail sales and forecast of ice cream, at inflation-adjusted prices, 2017-27
      • Figure 85: Total US retail sales and forecast of frozen novelties, at current prices, 2017-27
      • Figure 86: Total US retail sales and forecast of frozen novelties, at inflation-adjusted prices, 2017-27
      • Figure 87: Total US retail sales and forecast of frozen yogurt/non-dairy, at current prices, 2017-27
      • Figure 88: Total US retail sales and forecast of frozen yogurt/non-dairy, at inflation-adjusted prices, 2017-27
      • Figure 89: Total US retail sales and forecast of sherbet/sorbet/ices, at current prices, 2017-27
      • Figure 90: Total US retail sales and forecast of sherbet/sorbet/ices, at inflation-adjusted prices, 2017-27
      • Figure 91: US supermarket sales of ice cream and frozen novelties, at current prices, 2017-27
      • Figure 92: US convenience store sales of ice cream and frozen novelties, at current prices, 2017-27
      • Figure 93: US sales of ice cream and frozen novelties through other retail channels, at current prices, 2017-27
  17. Appendix – Key Players

      • Figure 94: Multi-outlet sales of ice cream and frozen novelties, by leading companies, rolling 52 weeks 2022 and 2023

About the report

This market report provides in-depth analysis and insight supported by a range of data. At the same time, introductory and top-level content is provided to give you an overview of the issues covered.

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