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US ice cream and frozen dessert market tops $25bn

By Caroline Scott-Thomas , 07-May-2012

Sales of ice cream and frozen desserts in the United States were worth $25.1bn last year, according to a new report from Packaged Facts – representing a 2.4% rise over 2010, following two years of flat sales.

The market research organization said in its report, “Ice Cream and Frozen Desserts in the US”, that increasingly Americans are looking for affordable indulgences, as they have become weary of ongoing economic pessimism.

Although there are pockets of high activity, the US market for ice cream and frozen desserts is mature, the market researcher said, with 92% of US households purchasing these products. But there may still be room for the category to grow, and Packaged Facts predicts that it could reach $28.6bn by 2016, driven by interest in comfort foods and a general snacking boom.

Retail ice cream and frozen dessert sales accounted for under half of the market in dollar terms (43%) last year, mainly because foodservice items tend to have higher prices. In retail, packaged ice cream remained the biggest seller, accounting for 55% of total sales, but the fastest growing category was for the frozen yogurt and tofu specialty segment, it said, which grew 8% over the past year.

The market for ice cream and frozen desserts is highly competitive, and is dominated by Nestlé and Unilever, which account for about 24% and 19% of the market respectively in the United States, in terms of dollar sales.

 At retail, the top 12 marketers account for 70% of all sales, and private label holds a further 22%, leaving just 8% for all other marketers.

Private label ice cream and frozen desserts introductions have soared in recent years, and Packaged Facts estimates that private label accounted for more than half of all new product introductions in the US in 2011.

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