Ice cream and frozen dessert processors have their work cut out for them in a very competitive market, but recent numbers show some promise. Ice cream sales are ticking up, ice pop novelty sales increases are kicking the others to the curb and frozen yogurt and sherbet sales are struggling.

The ice cream/sherbet category reached $6.3 billion sales, with dollar sales up 1.8% and unit sales down 0.7% to 1.6 billion, according to Information Resources Inc. (IRI), Chicago, for the 52 weeks ended May 17, 2015. The frozen novelties category’s dollar sales increased 2.4% to $4.6 billion, and units were up 0.3% to 1.5 billion.

The ice cream/sherbet category includes:

  • Ice cream ($5.5 billion; units up 0.6%)
  • Frozen yogurt/tofu ($313.4 million; units down 11.1%)
  • Sherbet/sorbet/ices ($197.1 million; units down 6.4%)

The frozen novelties category includes:

  • Frozen novelties ($4.2 billion; units up 0.08%)
  • Ice pop novelties ($156.5 million; units up 6.6%)

In the ice cream segment, dollar sales increased 3.2% to $5.5 billion, with units up 0.6% to 1.4 billion. Private label dominated the segment with $1.1 billion sales, though dollar sales dropped 1.1% and units were down 2.2%. In the wake of a spring recall of its ice cream, Blue Bell Creameries saw dollar and unit sales drop 4.4% and 9.6%, respectively. Its overall sales still came in second behind private label with $592.6 million.

Several companies in the top 10 saw increases. Unilever’s Talenti Gelato & Sorbetto’s dollar sales jumped 67.7% and units increased 64.3%. Turkey Hill saw its dollar and unit sales jump 10.5% and 9.3%, respectively. Sales for Häagen-Dazs(Nestle USA) rose 5.2% to $443.4 million, with units up 3.2%. Ben & Jerry’s (Unilever) reached $515.8 million sales, an increase of 5.1% and units improved 1.7%. Wells Blue Bunny (Wells Enterprises) did not fare as well; dollar and unit sales dropped 32.7% and 27.3%, respectively.

Both the frozen yogurt and sherbet segments struggled in the ice cream category. Frozen yogurt/tofu’s dollar sales dropped 10.1% to $313.4 million and units fell 11.1%. In the sherbet/sorbet/ices segment, dollar sales decreased 4.3% to $197.1 million, with units down 6.4%.

The ice pop novelties segment was the winner in the frozen novelties category. Dollar sales jumped 6.7% to $156.5 million, and units also improved 6.6% to 79.3 million. Slush Puppie’s (Big Easy Blends) dollar sales skyrocketed 1,105.8% and units were up 1,104.8%. Leading the segment was Fun Pops (Almance Foods), with sales up 11.2% to $45.6 million, and units up 11.5%. Wylers (The Jel Sert Co.) also saw success. Its dollar sales improved 86.1% and units rose 109.8%. On the flip side, Flavor Ice (another Jel Sert brand) struggled with units down 13.1%, though dollar sales were up 0.08%.

In the frozen novelties segment, dollar sales rose 2.5% to $4.2 billion, while units were up only 0.08%. Some companies showed promise while others struggled. Dreyer’s/Edy’s Outshine (Nestle Dreyer’s) saw sales jump 17.1% to $192 million and units increase 16.4%. Dollar sales for Popsicle (Good Humor/Breyers) increased 10.9% and units rose 9.5%. Nestle Drumstick’s (Nestle Dreyer’s) dollar sales improved 8.7% to $338 million, with units up 6%.

 The Skinny Cow (Nestle Dreyer’s) struggled with dollar sales and units down 12.5% and 14.9%, respectively. Sales for Wells Dairy Weight Watchers (Wells Enterprises) were also down, 13.4% for dollar sales and 15.7% for units.