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Categories with the greatest number of total launches during that period were: cheese, 1,802; take-home ice cream, 1,686; and frozen novelties/impulse ice cream, 1,020. Meanwhile, soy category launches experienced surprising declines. Soy yogurt experienced no new launches, compared with eight in 2002, while soy drink launches fell from 50 in 2004 to 35 in 2006. Clearly, issues with flavor played a vital role in these numbers.
P&F magazine recently spoke with Mintel Custom Solutions research analyst Christy Brinnehl about the latest trends in dairy flavors and what forces are determining the flavor landscape ahead.
Frozen Novelties/Impulse Ice Cream and Take Home Ice Cream
“People look at ice cream as an indulgence,” says Brinnehl, “so if you’re looking to have something to treat yourself with, you’re probably not going to try an off-the-wall flavor. You’re going to stick with [more familiar flavors such as] chocolate and vanilla.” While this key category—which saw 649 launches in 2006; see T-2—is somewhat stagnant flavor-wise and lacking in dynamic innovation, there are some emerging flavors. Brinnehl cites banana, mango and pineapple as some interesting movers. While she points out that these are “not necessarily exotic fruits,” they are “fruits that you don’t normally see in ice cream flavors.”
Another interesting phenomenon is the migration of beverage flavors to ice cream. Green tea, which was introduced through Asian markets, has had novel, if limited, impact on the market. “Baskin Robbins recently introduced green tea ice cream,” Brinnehl says, “but it’s not catching on—it’s not going to be a new flavor you’re going to be seeing everywhere.” She continues, “I’m also seeing coffee-flavored ice cream. The same goes for a lot of other subcategories in dairy. We’re also seeing coffee in drinkable yogurt.”