The ice cream/frozen novelty category clearly diverges in terms of sales. Some sub-segments are hot enough to cool off their very products, while others are as cold as the freezer that houses them. 

Overall, the ice cream/sherbet market saw dollar sales increase nearly 3% to $7.8 billion in U.S. multi-outlets and convenience stores during the 52 weeks ending Oct. 30. However, unit sales declined by 4% to 1.8 billion, according to data provided by Chicago-based Information Resources Inc. (IRI). Standouts in this category were Hudsonville (sales up 95% vs. the prior year), and Tillamook (sales increasing by 24% vs. the prior year period). 

Frozen novelties had an excellent yearlong period in terms of sales, which rocketed higher by 10% to $7.7 billion. However, unit sales in this segment declined by nearly 2% to 1.8 billion, per IRI. Winners in this category on a year-over-year basis (YoY) basis include Yasso (sales rising by 33%), Helados Mexico (sales up 29%), Bomb Pop (a 25% increase), and Nestlé (sales increasing by 22%).

Despite being a mixed bag, there is plenty of other good news. Under the ice cream/sherbet category, ice milk/frozen dairy desserts and sherbet/sorbet/ices are all doing well in terms of sales, according to IRI data. The ice milk/frozen dairy desserts category enjoyed a 10% sales gain to $319 million for the 52 weeks ending Oct. 30. Unit sales also increased by more than 3% to 80 million. Best performers in this category include Nestlé, whose sales increased by a whopping 1,632% to $25 million during the 52-week period; Blue Bunny, which saw sales rise by 78% YoY to $29 million; and Friendly’s, picking up a 34% YoY gain to $10 million, IRI reports.

Sherbet/sorbet/ices also had a banner year, with sales rising 12% YoY to $236 million. Unit sales increased also, but at a more muted pace — 1% — to $68 million. Under this subcategory, big winners YoY were The Frozen Farmer (sales up 87%), Talenti (up 31 percent), and Mayfield (rising 19%).

Frozen novelties also had a solid year for the most part. Sales were up more than 11% YoY to $7.1 billion, but yet again, unit sales told a different story, dropping slightly (less than 1%) to 1.73 billion, IRI data notes. 

On the negative side of the ledger, frozen yogurt/tofu had a tough year, seeing sales drop 7% to $328 million, while unit sales in this category tumbled by 12% to 70 million. Some companies bucked the trend in frozen yogurt, however. This includes Oatly (sales up 47% YoY), Planet Oat (sales increase of 29%) and Breyer’s (sales higher by 22%).

Ice pop novelties also suffered a difficult year, with sales declining by 7% YoY to $201 million. Positive standouts in this category include Tampico (133% YoY increase), and Deebee’s Organics (up 92%).

Lastly, frozen ice milk/ice milk desserts can be defined as neither good nor bad. Overall sales in this subcategory came in virtually flat (up 0.2% YoY) to $340 million. Oberweis (sales increase of 152% YoY), Shain’s of Maine (rising by 131%) and Abilyn’s (up 79%) shone brightly in this category.