The heat wave which has gripped much of Europe for the last month has boosted sales of numerous food and drink products - primarily those which will help keep consumers cool.
One such product is of course ice cream, whose sales are naturally higher in the summer months than during the rest of the year but which has seen a particularly significant increase in sales this year because of the heat wave.
In Spain, for example, some 8 per cent of ice cream sales revenues come during the summer months alone, but sales during June and July 2003 were some 20 per cent higher than in the same period a year earlier, more than compensating for a poor start to the year.
The latest figures from Anhcea, the organisation which represents more than 400 ice cream producers and retailers across Spain, show that the product which has shown the biggest growth is in fact granizado, the flavoured ice drink seen as more refreshing than ice cream, which registered a 25 per cent increase during the two-month period.
While the hot temperatures have clearly had a beneficial effect on ice cream sales in Spain, Anhcea's president José Luis Gisbert told the Expansion newspaper that the increase was not as high as could have been expected. This is because the heat has also kept many people at home - reducing their opportunity to buy ice cream on impulse.
Impulse purchases of ice cream account for around 50 per cent of total sales - although just 15 years ago, this figure was as high as 80 per cent. Supermarkets have steadily increased their share of ice cream sales over this period, and this year they have really come into their own.
Consumers have coped with the heat by stocking up on ice cream for consumption at home - ice cream which is bought primarily from supermarkets.