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China overtakes US to become ice cream market 'powerhouse': Mintel

By Mark Astley+

20-Jul-2015

China overtakes US to become ice cream market 'powerhouse': Mintel

China has overtaken the US to become the “powerhouse” of the global ice cream market, says Mintel.

According to fresh Mintel data, Chinese ice cream sales increased 90% between 2008 and 2014 to US$11.4bn - eclipsing US sales, which increased 15% in the same period to US$11.2bn.

The US and China account for more than 40% of global ice cream sales, which Mintel says hit US$50bn for the first time in 2014.

Mintel expects Chinese sales to increase to US$12.6bn in 2015, compared with US$11.4bn in the US.

“Rising incomes and an increasingly developed retail infrastructure and cold chain network are driving growth in the ice cream market in China,” said Alex Beckett, global food analyst, Mintel.

"The pace of development, coupled with the immensity of the population, is having an increasing impact on the Chinese ice cream market," he said.

With growth in Europe and North America "dampened" by a number of factors, Western ice cream manufacturers have more reason that ever to look East, Beckett added.

"As the world economy's center of gravity continues to shift away from the West, these challenges give ice cream giant all the more reason to extend their presence, and new product development, in more emerging economies, particularly in Asia," he said.

Ice cream "powerhouse"

The US was also surpassed by China in terms of volume.

Sales of ice cream in China increase to 5.9bn litres in 2014, compared with 5.8bn litres in the States.

Taking bronze, Japan consumed 784m litres in 2014. In fourth and fifth, Russia and Germany respectively consumed 668m litres and 545m litres. 

Mintel predicts volume sales of ice cream in China, which boasts a population of 1.35bn, will increase to 6.3bn litres in 2015.

While its become "the powerhouse of the global ice cream market" in terms of value and volume sales, China lags behind the US on per capita consumption.

In 2014, 18.4 litres of ice cream were consumed per person in the US, compared with just four litres in China. 

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