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Non-Dairy Ice Cream Market Experiences Cool-Down

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Ice cream cone on the floor

According to a recent Mintel report, the retail sales of frozen yogurt and non-dairy ice cream slipped 10% in the last two year, despite global growth in the ice cream market.

“Many of the pleasures that consumers get from frozen treats, ... simply outweigh health-related concerns for the vast majority of Americans." - Mimi Bonnett, director, US Reports, Food, Drink and Foodservice at Mintel

Treat Yourself

The report indicated that only 11% of US consumers cut back on ice cream consumption due to health concerns, with an additional 10% that actively avoided healthier versions because they felt ice cream was meant to be a treat. 27% of US ice cream buyers even agree that the treats are unhealthy but will buy them anyway.

“Many of the pleasures that consumers get from frozen treats, such as satisfaction of cravings and an enjoyable indulgence, simply outweigh health-related concerns for the vast majority of Americans. As a result, we’re seeing a decline in retail sales for the frozen yogurt and non-dairy segment, which typically carries a health halo. Although soft-serve yogurt remains popular in specialized frozen yogurt parlors, the harder frozen yogurt packaged like ice cream continues to lose traction, indicating that even products with healthy claims need to ensure they maintain their appeal as a treat,” said Mimi Bonnett, director, US Reports, Food, Drink and Foodservice at Mintel.

Global Growth Still Key

Though the frozen yogurt and non-dairy ice cream market has experienced a cool-down, ice cream sales overall have been gaining more ground. The largest ice cream market is China, where they have consumed 4.3 billion liters of ice cream in 2016.

In addition, Asia and Asia Pacific regions have also been a hot bed for ice cream product launched. In 2016, 32% of ice cream products were released in the region, where North America only launched 14%. This has led to many Western consumers looking to the east for innovative products and inspired flavors.

“Food historians credit China with inventing ice cream and Marco Polo for introducing it to Italy on his return from the Far East. Skip forward to the 21st century and the rate at which Western ice cream makers are looking to the East for inspiration promises to see renewed momentum,” said Alex Beckett, global food and drink analyst at Mintel. “The rapidity with which India’s ice cream market is expanding is worth noting. The low per capita consumption of retail ice cream in India demonstrates the exciting potential in what is the world’s second most populated country, although competition from street vendors should not be underestimated.”