It’s no surprise that ice cream doesn’t make the grocery shopping list in the wintertime. Aside from curbing the various strains of illness (ice cream soothes strep throat), consumers are warming their kitchens with other not-as-cold items.
Let’s face it, the market for ice cream has seen some warmer days. That’s because sales of ice cream are strongest from April through September.
According to Chicago-based SymphonyIRI, ice cream sales totaled $3.95 billion for the 52 weeks ending Oct. 3, 2010, a 4.1% decline from the previous period. Unit sales of 1.2 billion were down 1.4%.
Private label ice cream products led the category with sales of $991.6 million, down 4.7% from a year ago, SymphonyIRI data outlines. Branded products also showed declines. Breyers, Dreyer’s Edy’s Slow Churned, Häagen-Dazs, Ben & Jerry’s, Turkey Hill and Dreyer’s Edy’s Grand experienced a dollar sales drop, with Dreyer’s Edy’s Grand taking the biggest hit. Its sales declined 23.8%, according to SymphonyIRI data.
However, when stacked up against previous quarters, ice cream sales will begin to rise in the New Year, allowing some ice cream brands to incur an uptick in sales despite Jack Frost nipping at consumers’ noses.
Some of the top 10 brands did grow. Dreyer’s Edy’s Fun Flavors, for instance, saw a 40.4% uptick in dollar sales and 44.6% in units since last year thanks in part to its “buy one, get one free” promotions that extended into the winter months. Wells’ Blue Bunny also saw a 5.5% leap in dollar sales and a 14.7% in unit sales since last year thanks to its introduction of all-natural, no-sugar-added and premium ice cream options. Blue Bell dollar sales also increased 3.1% in dollar sales and 1.75% in unit sales SymphonyIRI numbers show.
Sales of frozen yogurt, sherbetThe frozen yogurt segment also is showing signs of warming up, while the sherbet/sorbet/ice category is frozen in place. Frozen yogurt sales rose 1.2% to $198.5 million in sales, with units up 3.5%. Sherbet/sorbet/ices dropped 3% in dollar sales and 1.1% in units, according to SymphonyIRI.
For its part, Turkey Hill saw a 410.1% jump in dollar sales since last year thanks to an assortment of new flavors and packaging initiatives. The company redesigned its frozen yogurt packages with a new color band and a front-of-pack strip that outlines healthy ingredients, such as number of calories, calcium, vitamin D, omegas and more.
Wells’ Blue Bunny saw a 173.2% jump in dollar sales and a 214.8% leap in unit sales for its Durango line of low-fat frozen yogurt, as well as, its all-natural frozen yogurt offerings.
The cold weather may be causing a damper in sales of ice cream and sherbets, but processors can rest assured. If the New Year is similar to years past, sales of frozen dairy treats will come out of hibernation in the spring and join the ice cream social.