The heat wave currently holding almost all of western Europe in its grip is giving a major boost to some food and drink producers, with consumers seeking a variety of means to cool down or quench their thirst.
Swiss ice cream manufacturers are the latest to report significantly increased sales as a result of the abnormally hot weather.
Sales for the first half of fiscal 2003 rose by 7 per cent to 29.9 million litres, according to the Swiss ice cream producers' association, a major boost for an industry which started the year badly with sales well below expectations.
Sales in the second quarter alone were some 16.5 per cent higher than in the same period a year earlier, reaching an all time high of 23.3 million litres.
The association said that sales were boosted 13.5 per cent by sales linked directly to the hot weather (sales of ice lollies and cornets at swimming pools and tourist spots, for example).
An increase in take home sales added 6.8 per cent to total volumes, although sales in the horeca sector showed just 0.4 per cent growth.
Last year was one of stability for the Swiss ice cream industry, with sales in 2002 remaining roughly in line with those of 2001 at 50.99 million litres.
However, the good start to the current year gives the industry reason to hope that sales for 2003 will surpass those of 2002, although a significant worsening of the weather in the last few weeks has already taken the shine off the second quarter figures.