Mintel Reports: Ice Cream Still Hot

According to Mintel's Global Market Navigator, ice cream retailers world-wide are bringing in a profit despite a less-than-warm economy. The combined value of the top five European markets (France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK) stands at £4.6 billion, up from £4.1 billion in 2008. Meanwhile, the US ice cream market is expected to reach $6.8 million in 2010.

Mintel's Global New Products Database found that premium lines accounted for 9% of global ice cream product launches in the last six months, while economy lines represented 4% of global launches. Even though ice cream is often seen as an affordable, sweet indulgence, consumers still express an interest in healthier products. Manufacturers have answered, with 13% of all product launches touting a "no additives/preservatives" claim.

What's on the outside is just as important as what's on the inside. Packaging developments are focusing on more eco-friendly or recyclable materials. In the last six months, 13% of ice cream products featured an environmentally-friendly packaging claim, a 6% increase (in terms of share launches) on the previous period, with actual launches doubling.

Germany boasts the most enthusiastic ice cream lovers, with residents shelling out £19 per person on the creamy treat each year. However, all European countries are in agreement when it comes to their favorite flavor: chocolate. Mintel GNPD found that over a third (32%) of the total ice cream products launched in the UK in 2009 were chocolate flavored, compared with 31% in Spain, 22% in Italy, 17% in Germany and 16% in France. In the US, vanilla is the flavor of choice, accounting for 11% of ice cream product launches in 2009. Chocolate is a close second, with 8%.

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