Frozen Yogurt Growth Freezing Out Ice Cream

CHICAGO -- I scream, you scream, we all scream for…frozen yogurt? In a surprising new twist, frozen yogurt has been freezing out ice cream in sales, according to new research from Mintel.

For the 2011-2013 period, frozen yogurt saw a whopping 74-percent sales increase, compared to the 3.9-percent increase seen in ice cream sales. The frozen yogurt sector grew from $279 million in 2011 to reach $486 million this year, while ice cream posted minimal sales growth from $5.7 billion in 2011 to $5.9 billion this year. However, ice cream still remains the most popular segment in the sector, with 89 percent of U.S. households consuming it.

“While ice cream remains the largest segment of the ice cream and frozen novelties market, sales dipped following the economic downturn. The expanding array of snack options, as well as a lack of product innovation, contributed to this performance," explained Beth Bloom, food and drink analyst at Mintel. "In contrast, the frozen yogurt segment has benefitted from a perfect storm of factors, including the growing popularity of yogurt among U.S consumers, the growing acceptance of frozen yogurt as a snack, and a perception of a higher health profile that coincides with increased attention placed on better-for-you products.”

Some of Mintel's other findings regarding ice cream and frozen novelty consumption include:

  • A majority of consumers, 73 percent, believe ice cream and frozen novelties can fit into a healthy lifestyle.
  • Nearly half of consumers, 47 percent, agree that low-sugar/low-fat ice cream and frozen treats are as satisfying as regular varieties.
  • More than half of consumers, 53 percent, say they try to limit their intake of ice cream because they are afraid they will eat too much of it.
  • Twenty-one percent believe eating these items even once a week is excessive.
  • More than half of all ice cream and frozen novelty consumers, 56 percent, enjoy their treat after a meal as a dessert.
  • Younger Americans aged 18 to 24 are more likely to eat ice cream and frozen novelties whenever they want -- 57 percent compared to 44 percent of all age groups. They are also more likely to indulge in frozen treats as a snack in between meals -- 30 percent vs. 22 percent of all age groups.
  • Consumers from single-person households are more likely than larger households to eat frozen treats whenever they want -- 52 percent vs. 44 percent. Mintel concludes that advertisements that depict people enjoying a frozen treat alone should resonate with a large percentage of consumers. 

“Ice cream and frozen novelty products positioned as having an added value through the offer of functional benefits, as well as reduced guilt through their contribution to well-being, can stand apart from the competition on store shelves and garner more attention from consumers," Bloom added.

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