Competing in the frozen dessert market can be tough, even more so during a time when so many consumers are paying close attention to labels and their food choices. Consumers are cutting back on desserts, choosing healthier options or reaching for ice cream when they want to indulge.
Dollar and unit sales for the ice cream category were looking good as numbers ticked up. Some frozen novelties also enjoyed a sales boost, but many struggled. Meanwhile, sales dropped for sherbet, sorbet and frozen dairy desserts.
With Danone acquiring WhiteWave, the new dairy processing company lands at No. 4 on our 24th annual Dairy 100. This detailed dossier includes brands, products made and plant locations for the largest processors of fluid milk, ice cream, cheese, butter, cultured dairy products, dairy ingredients and other dairy-derived foods and beverages.
The state of North America’s dairy industry is constantly in motion. Since our last report, dairies have been on an acquisition spree. And the deals kept happening even after we finished tabulating the 2016 revenues of the 100 largest dairy processing companies based in Canada, the United States and Mexico.
As noted in the nondairy beverage article in our May issue, consumers are seeking functional and no-sugar-added options for beverages — and some juice segments are taking a hit in sales because of it. Sales are down in orange, apple and juice/drink smoothies segments, but ticking up in refrigerated lemonade, fruit drinks and vegetable juice blends.
Consumers are guzzling the drinkable cultured dairy options — sales for refrigerated kefir products and shelf-stable yogurt drinks are on the rise. Sales for sour cream are also up. Meanwhile, sales for regular yogurt and cream cheese have dropped.
Sales indicate that consumers continue to prefer natural over processed cheese, with slices, shreds and cubes sales getting a boost. In the processed cheese category, cheese spreads/balls was the only segment with positive sales numbers.
Whether it’s an electrolyte-packed sports drink or a dose of caffeine from an energy drink, consumers really like their energy-boosting beverages. Sales for both sports drinks and energy drinks are jumping.