Of the products in the category: ice cream has seen some of the most success. According to the International Dairy Food Association, ice cream makers in the U.S. produced more than 1 billion gallons of hard ice cream in 2021, up 6% from 2019. In the first five months of 2021, hard ice cream production was up 4% compared with the previous year. More specifically, the IDFA said that between March and May of 2021, sales of frozen novelties were up 24% from the same
period in 2019.
Innodelice, a supplier network for the frozen dessert industry, determined four growing trends in the category: snack-if-ication (bite sized, controlled portions), healthy-er (additional benefits, plant-based), natural-ity (clean label or organic) and indulgent & surprising (multi-textured, colorful, or exotic).
“Traditionally, private labels look to brands to identify best performing SKUs and launch a ‘knock-off’ version of the same product,” said Andrea Montreuil, co-founder of Innodelice, Canada. “Hence, double-coated bars, round premium sandwiches, multi-texture pints and, of course, plant-based frozen desserts are certainly products to consider. However, with the rise of private label consumer loyalty and the innovation potential that exists within our global ice
cream ecosystem, we believe that private label retailers can become trend setters vs. trend followers. Immunity ice cream could be a good example.”
With increased sales comes an increased demand for new and innovative flavors. Unique and creative flavors have dominated the ice cream category, with private label brands doing a lot of the innovation.
“Two of the top trends impacting sweet treats like candy and ice cream are the infusion of dynamic flavors and better-for-you qualities, creating new experiences for consumers,” said James Hedges, senior manager of category solutions at Daymon. “Unique flavors, layered textures, and color support the growing trend of sensory fusion appealing to consumers — especially younger consumers such as Gen Z and Millennials.”
Publix and Albertsons are two chains that recently brought back holiday ice cream flavors for the fall and winter seasons. Publix Premium’s unique seasonal flavors include Praline Pecan Bread Pudding, Caramel Mountain Tracks, Marshmallow, Candy Cane & Cookie Blast, and
Mocha Mud Pie just to name a few. At Albertsons stores, pumpkin pie, eggnog and peppermint flavors are available for the holidays. Outside of the holiday varieties, Southeastern Grocers has won dozens of awards for its dairy products, including ice cream and frozen yogurt.