The United Kingdom ice cream production market has managed to keep its cool despite fluctuating revenue and difficult trading conditions. Ice cream consumption has remained stagnant for over a decade, with industry growth coming from product innovation and the targeting of home ice cream consumption.
Estimated to reach £1 billion in 2011 the ice cream, sorbet and frozen yogurt market has grown by 4.3% since 2006. The market is estimated to have seen volume sales decline by 6% over the same period, with value growth fuelled and volume growth partly dampened by price inflation.
Although the recession caused many consumers to trade down to cheaper brands of ice cream, the market stood up particularly well during the economic crisis, as it is still viewed as a relatively inexpensive indulgence.
Nevertheless, the trading down to cheaper brands has affected certain areas of the market, especially at the premium and luxury-end of the scale.
The ice cream market is dominated by two major players -- R&R Ice Cream and Unilever -- which, between them, own or hold licences for the majority of the top brands on the UK market, such as Ben & Jerry's, Carte D'Or and Walls; as well as Magnum, Solero and Nestlé, respectively. Other major suppliers include Mars Ice Cream, Frederick's Dairies and General Mills.
it appears today's consumers expect more than the usual chocolate and vanilla flavour varieties. Just under half (49%) of Brits claim that they like to try new flavours rather than stick to the same one all the time, while a similar number (46%) are interested in unusual or exotic flavours. A further three in 10 (28%) consumers cite high quality of ingredients as purchase driver of the frozen treat.
Over the coming years, the worldwide trend towards health consciousness is expected to drive new product offerings and demand, with an increase in low-fat ice creams.
The growth in popularity of organic produce across all foods will extend to ice cream, encouraging many manufacturers to comply with the aim of scooping up the new demand.
For more information on the UK ice cream market, see the latest research: UK Ice Cream Market
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