If the last year and a half has taught us anything, it’s that people will find any excuse to indulge themselves with sugary treats, whether or not they are suitable for the temperature. According to a Unilever study, 50% of ice cream is purchased outside of the summer, so retailers should keep their refrigerators stocked year-round.
Horácio Cal, Director of Ice Cream Brand Experience at Unilever, says: “Last year we were much closer to home than usual. We’ve all been looking for ways to create happy moments, including our favorite ice cream for fun time. These occasions, combined with our love for a familiar treat, contributed to a strong performance in ice cream sales. “
In the convenience sector, take-out ice-cream formats are the largest segment of the overall frozen food category, according to figures from Kantar, accounting for over 33% of “eat-at-home” frozen sales in stores across Canada. proximity. Cal says shareable tubs are the natural choice when it comes to big parties, a statement supported by Christina Veal, director of New Forest Ice Cream.
She says the shareable ice cream bins not only provide the comfort shoppers need during the winter, but also enhance a big night out with an upscale offering. Kat Simpson, Unilever Category Manager, says: “As recessionary behaviors develop, we can learn from past economic trends that premium ice cream brands have grown faster than the rest of ice cream because shoppers were looking for a small treat but allowed to enjoy at home. ”She recommends that retailers leave enough space in their take-out cabinet for luxury and premium tubs.
While the popularity of jars is on the rise, the largest segment of the convenience store industry is hand-held ice cream sticks, says Michelle Frost, general manager of Mars Chocolate Drinks & Treats.
She says Mars ice cream sales are growing by almost 15% per year, which equates to 20.5 million packages of ice cream sold. She advises retailers to stock ice cream by hand, such as Mars Ice Cream Bar, Snickers Ice Cream Bar, Maltesers Ice Cream, Bounty Ice Cream Bar, Skittles Cooler, and Twix Ice Cream Bar.
But retailers should also balance their ice cream lineup with pulse formats, because according to data from industry think-tank IGD, pulse ice cream is the second most impulsive category after confectionery.
These are key formats for the summer, but retailers can still drive take-out ice cream sales by reaching out to the 94% of shoppers who snack more than twice a day. Unilever data shows 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. is the key selling time for takeout ice cream.
To help increase ice cream sales even more during the colder months, Simpson recommends grouping sizes of ice cream together in the same refrigerator – for example, by placing multi-pack sticks with jars the size of a pint – as this will help buyers navigate the fixture easily.
She says, “Take advantage of the additional sales during the winter by making efficient use of the space in your impulse cabinet. Focus on a basic range of individual snacks for adults and children, as well as a selected range of top-selling jars and desserts.
She also advises retailers to tap into trends, such as low-calorie, dairy-free products, especially since these, along with vegan options, have contributed to the significant growth of the category. ice cream observed in 2020.
By Éilis Cronin, content editor