New ice cream trends emerge but flavour still king

Innova Market Insights

Monday, 22 March, 2021


New ice cream trends emerge but flavour still king

Market research firm Innova Market Insights has found that while flavour is still the most important choice factor and purchase driver for ice cream shoppers, other trends can help build a competitive edge.

These include non-dairy formulations, low sugar recipes, cleaner labels and ethical ingredients.

Non-dairy ice cream has been on trend in recent years. Launch numbers rose at a CAGR of almost 30% over 201–2020 and non-dairy lines now account for 10% of all ice cream introductions. This rises to as much as one-quarter of all activity in North America and one-fifth of launches in Australasia.

Low sugar formulations are also gaining ground, reaching penetration of 6% of launches in 2020.

Lu Ann Williams, Director of Innovation at Innova Market Insights, said the development of more natural sweeteners has attracted more attention to sugar reduction.

“Artificial sweeteners have steadily lost ground, and erythritol, stevia and monk fruit are now the top three choices in low sugar and sugar-free ice cream.”

Meanwhile, Innova says, when it comes to clean label development, shorter and simpler ingredients lists are popular. Some brands have even flagged the number of ingredients, or the full ingredient list, on their packaging.

While these are all interesting trends in ice cream development, flavour is still king.

Innova found that where alternative positionings are used to target specific consumer interests, taste choices remain vital. Taste can be even more important in healthier recipes, helping to cement an indulgent image. For example, salted caramel is one of the biggest winners in recent flavour development, Innova says, rising to fifth in the flavour rankings in 2020.

However, its penetration in non-dairy ice cream is more than twice as high as in regular dairy ice cream.

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/kerdkanno

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