As U.S. consumers gravitate toward better-for-you choices, indulgent categories such as frozen desserts are losing some steam. According to data from IRI, a Chicago-based research firm, in the 52-week period ending June 16, 2019, dollar sales in the frozen desserts/toppings category fell 2.8% to $663.2 million. Unit sales declined 1.4% to 264.9 million.

In the refrigerated dessert category, it was a different story. The category rose 3.3% in dollar sales to $770.7 million and 1% in unit sales to 386.3 million.


Slight fall for frozen whip toppings

Sales of frozen whip toppings, the largest subset of the frozen dessert/topping category, experienced a decline, albeit only a small one. The subcategory lost 1.8% in dollars sales and 2.5% in unit sales. 

Among the top 10 brands, dairy-free brand So Delicious (Danone North America) fared the best. It gained 29.9% in dollars sales and 28.1% in unit sales. Branded items from Peak Foods LLC, a joint venture between Interstate Food Processing Corp. and Lakeside Foods, also experienced success — growing 11.0% in dollar sales and 13.1% in unit sales.

However, some other top 10 brands experienced double-digit losses. Combined brands from Quality Frozen Foods Inc. struggled the most. They tumbled 25.8% in dollar sales and 14.4% in unit sales. Rich’s (Rich Products Corp.) also choked, losing 13.3% in dollar sales and falling 18.5% in unit sales.


Cheesecakes mixed

Overall, the frozen cheesecake subcategory struggled. It fell 5.7% in dollar sales and 3.1% in unit sales.

The biggest loser among the top 10 frozen cheesecake brands was Jon Donaire (Rich Products Corp.), which lost 14.8% in dollar sales and 19.0% in unit sales. Private label had a similar struggle, declining 14.8% in dollar sales and 12.1% in unit sales. Edwards (Schwan Food Co.) also had double-digit losses. It decreased 10.0% in dollar sales and 13.3% in unit sales.

But it wasn’t all bad news for frozen cheesecakes. Vegan brand Daiya (Daiya Foods Inc.) gained 37.8% in dollar sales and rose 44.3% in unit sales. Atlanta Cheesecake Co. (Panorama Inc.) also had reason to celebrate, expanding 21.4% and 8.8% in dollar and unit sales, respectively.

Meanwhile, the refrigerated cheesecake subset experienced healthy gains, with dollar sales up 5.8% and unit sales up 8.7%. Coming out on top was Junior’s Little Fella (Junior’s Cheesecake), which jumped 100.6% in dollar sales and 109.9% in unit sales. Junior’s eponymous brand also grew — 35.1% in dollar sales and 41.3% in unit sales.

Eli’s (Eli’s Chicago Finest Inc.) was the only top 10 brand to lose ground. It fell 2.9% in dollar sales, but gained 5.7% in unit sales.


Puddings, mousses shine

The relatively small subcategory of frozen puddings and mousses had exciting levels of growth, rising a whopping 122.5% in dollar sales and 71.4% in unit sales.

Meanwhile, the top 10 brands in the refrigerated dessert category, which consists of puddings, mousses, gelatin and parfaits, also did well. Private label jumped 7.2% in dollar sales and 1.4% in unit sales. Hispanic brand Raymundo’s (Raymundo’s Food Group) also had gains: 6.2% in dollar sales and 7.5% in unit sales.