Ice cream is trending as a go-to snack that provides permission to indulge. While unit sales are down, dollar sales are up. This makes sense during these inflationary times. But what may surprise some is the fact that the growth in dollar sales is not only about higher shelf tags, it’s also about consumers splurging on pricier, premium ice cream.

“America’s love for ice cream knows no bounds,” said Michael Dykes, president and chief executive officer, the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA), Washington, DC. “Comforting and satisfying as an indulgent treat, ice cream production and consumption grew throughout the COVID pandemic and sales continue to set a blazing pace at grocery, scoop shops and corner stores.”

Bimbo Bakeries, Horsham, Pa., and Sorrisa Group, a product development company based in Ontario, Canada, partnered to introduce Entenmann’s Ice Cream Sandwiches. The bakery-inspired novelties come in six varieties: brownie cookie salted caramel, chocolate chip cookie, chocolate chip and brownie cookie, chocolatey glazed cookie donut, chocolatey glazed cookie donut salted caramel and glazed cookie donut. The donut ice cream sandwiches feature a glazed, moist donut cookie rather than an actual donut.

The ice cream category grew 7% in the last year, with over $7.1 billion in sales, according to Circana, a Chicago-based market research firm.

The artisanal ice cream market is expected to grow 4.2% annually from now until 2030, when it will be worth $95.8 billion, according to Market Research Future. The research highlights how consumers’ tastes have evolved and they’re seeking out premium goods with natural ingredients, such as small-batch ice creams made conventionally with local ingredients.

The report states that even though these types of products are often more expensive than generic ice cream, consumers have shown they will pay more for the high quality and flavor that comes with artisanal options. The report defines artisanal ice creams as those that are produced by hand, using age-old techniques, with premium ingredients such as cream, milk, sugar, fruits, nuts and spices. Additionally, it references the lack of artificial preservatives, flavors and colors in artisanal products as appealing to consumers.

Many artisanal ice creams are marketed as limited-time offerings. They are often seasonal flavors or products providing shock value. While there are better-for-you brands that have a steady consumer base, the post-pandemic ice cream consumer appears to be looking for indulgence. Marketers are delivering.

Perry's Ice Cream new flavors indulgent pintsImages: Perry’s Ice Cream

Perry’s Ice Cream, Akron, NY, developed a new pint line with the tagline of being “extra indulgent.” The formulation features increased butterfat and a higher density. It was developed in response to research showing that 80% of ice cream users are seeking indulgent experiences, especially in the super-premium category. The lineup includes 13 “extra indulgent” ice cream flavors and one sherbet. Many of the offerings are an extra indulgent version of fan favorite Perry’s flavors, such as Cheat Day, which is brown sugar ice cream with brownie batter swirls, brownie dough and cookie dough, and Rocky Mountain Raspberry, which is white chocolate ice cream with almond raspberry fudge chunks and raspberry swirls.


Artisan products shine

Wells Enterprises is providing extra indulgence in its Blue Bunny Stuffed Puffs line. The first product to launch in this co-branding initiative is Blue Bunny Stuffed Puffs Scoopables, which combines Blue Bunny’s signature frozen dairy dessert with Stuffed Puffs’ Filled Marshmallow. There’s also ice cream sandwiches that feature Blue Bunny’s signature frozen dairy dessert with Stuffed Puffs’ Filled Marshmallow sandwiched between two graham cracker cookies.

Many coffee frozen desserts are also making the promise of providing caffeine, speaking to the energy many consumers claim to be lacking these days. New offerings include Bubbie’s Mocha Chip Mochi, Ruby Jewel’s Mocha Macchiato (a limited-time offering featuring a house-made caramelized espresso ice cream sandwiched between two chocolate cookies) and Blue Bell Java Jolt, another limited-edition product that combines coffee ice cream with dark chocolate chunks and a coffee fudge swirl.

Brooklyn, NY-based Van Leeuwen Ice Cream continues to add shock value to retail freezers. A recent mashup from the company is Hidden Valley Ranch. This ice cream boasts the savory flavors of ranch dressing, including buttermilk, flavorful herbs and a touch of sweetness. Limoncello Cake is an Italian-inspired flavor that starts with a bright lemon ice cream base and contains pieces of sweet brown sugar cake. Sweet Maple Cornbread is a maple ice cream base with hearty chunks of honey cornbread.

Tillamook County Creamery Association, Tillamook, Ore., unveiled three new flavors in its premium ice cream line. Its take on the classic Neapolitan ice cream features three of the brand’s flavors: Old Fashioned Vanilla, Oregon Strawberry (which includes chunks of real strawberries) and a new Chocolate formulation with an “added chocolate ripple.” The Orange and Cream flavor, a limited-time product, was a concept that formulators based off of 50/50 bars from their childhoods. Campfire Peanut Butter Cup, another limited-edition flavor, combines toasted marshmallow ice cream, fudge and miniature chocolate peanut butter cups.

The dairy processor also said it plans to introduce more new flavors during the winter holiday season.

“When looking at our premium ice cream roster, we saw a flavor gap and knew just how to round it out by adding to our lineup of flavors,” said Ian Moppert, an ice cream scientist at Tillamook. “Research showed us that nostalgia is a key ice cream trend for 2023. Knowing consumers are looking for reimagined classics helped lead us to our new flavors, which we anticipate will leave folks hankering for one more bite.”


Category innovations

J&J Snack Foods, Pennsauken Township, NJ, now offers single-serve cups of gelato in Italian cannoli, mint chocolate chip and sweet cream churro flavors. They come in four-count boxes.

• In efforts to assist shoppers with managing higher prices, private label ice cream marketers got more sophisticated. Publix, Lakeland, Fla., added eight summertime flavors, including Lemon Berry Bliss (lemon crème-flavored ice cream with lemonade-flavored flakes and blueberry-flavored swirls) and Marry Me Strawberry (strawberry ice cream with strawberry-flavored sauce swirls and pieces of white chocolate-flavored strawberry pecan bark).

Graeter’s Ice Cream, Cincinnati, known for its Old World French Pot process, made Hot Honey Crunch one of its annual bonus flavors. This variety combined crunchy honeycomb and sweet icing pieces with a little heat in the hot honey ice cream base. However, the limited-time offering was only available in Graeter’s scoop shops.

Wells Enterprises teamed up with The Cheesecake Factory to offer At Home Cheesecake Ice Cream Bars in original and strawberry flavors. The stick novelties were inspired by the casual-dining restaurant chain’s iconic desserts.

top ice cream brands 2023 private label Ben & Jerry's Haagen Dazs Blue Bell Breyers Dreyer's Edy's Tillamook Turkey Hill Talenti Blue Bunny Halo Top

Source: Circana

| Graphic: Sosland Publishing Co.
top frozen novelties brands 2023 Nestle private label Outshine Klondike Haagen Dazs Blue Bunny Yasso Popsicle Blue Bell Good Humor Snickers Magnum

Source: Circana

| Graphic: Sosland Publishing Co.