Summertime is the ultimate season for ice cream companies and some showed positive sales numbers heading into summer. But still many struggled, and with the exception of a couple bright stars, the frozen novelties segment showed sales numbers dropping across the board.

In the 52 weeks ended May 19, 2013, the Ice Cream/Sherbet category showed dollar sales up 1.8% to $6 billion, and unit sales up 2.3% to 1.6 billion, according to data from Information Resources Inc. (IRI), Chicago. On the flip side, in the Frozen Novelties category, dollar sales were down 1.7% to $4.6 billion, and units dropped 4.6% to 1.6 billion.

Here are the segments that make up IRI’s ice cream/sherbet category:

  • Ice cream ($5.5 billion sales, units up 0.9% )
  • Frozen yogurt/tofu ($341.5 million sales, units up 37.9%)
  • Sherbet/sorbet/ices ($218.4 million sales, units down 2.5%)

Here are the segments that make up the frozen novelties category:

  • Frozen novelties ($4.2 billion sales, units down 3.8%)
  • Frozen ice cream/ice milk desserts ($221.5 million sales, units down 38.3%)
  • Ice pop novelties ($155.9 million sales, units down 10.1%)

In the ice cream segment, dollar sales rose 0.7% to $5.5 billion and units went up 0.9% to 1.5 billion. Among the top 10 in the segment, Friendly Ice Cream saw the most success; its sales rose 13.8% and units jumped 20.1%. Also seeing an increase, Kroger’s Turkey Hill Dairy’s sales went up 4.6%, and units rose 6.7%.

Though private label led the segment in overall dollar sales with $1.1 billion, Dreyers Grand Ice Cream was close behind with $1 billion. Dreyers’ dollar sales were up 2.7% and units rose 3.5%. Blue Bell Creameries’ dollar sales were also up 5.1% and units rose 3.7%. Mayfield Dairy Farms (a unit of Dean Foods) saw the worst sales numbers — dollar sales dropped 7.8% and units fell 8.1%. (See table.)

Over in the frozen novelties segment, two companies achieved significant increases. Unilever Bestfoods North America saw dollar sales jump 22.2% and units went up 20.8%. Ziegenfelder Ice Cream Co.’s dollar sales went up 12.1% and units jumped 12.2%. Blue Bell Creameries saw dollar sales increase 6.7%, but the units dropped 0.8%. Dreyers Grand Ice Cream led the segment in overall dollar sales, but sales were down 3.2% and units dropped 7.4%. Also struggling was Good Humor/Breyers. Its dollar sales fell 6.8% and units were down 6.1%. Mars Inc.’s dollar sales went down 3.5% and units fell 6.2%.

The frozen ice cream/ice milk segment overall struggled significantly (dollar sales were down 8.5%, units dropped 38.3%), but there were a couple of companies that saw huge sales increases. Arctic Zero's (formerly California Soft Serve Concepts) dollar sales skyrocketed 143.4% and units jumped 132.4%. Also rising above the rest was Turkey Hill Dairy, with sales up 119.9% and units up 86.8%. Among the top 10, Heinz Frozen Foods’ sales were the worst — dollar sales fell 80.8% and units dropped 86.4%. Celebration Foods led the overall segment in dollar sales, but sales were down 3.6% and units dropped 6.8%.

Turkey Hill Dairy’s sales are on the rise