Last year ice cream fans spent £1bn on the chilled dessert, compared with £998M in 2010.
Amy Price, senior food analyst at Mintel, said: “While the market has been fuelled by inflation, which has seen the average price per litre of ice cream rise by more than a quarter over the past five years, ice cream remains an affordable treat for most of the nation.
“Ice cream occupies an affordable price position in the context of the overall food market. The relatively cheap cost being one of the most important drivers of underlying growth throughout the economic downturn, helping to position ice cream as an affordable treat.”
Frozen yogurt was star performer in the sector. Although accounting for only 1% of total ice cream sales, frozen yogurt sales rose by 50% from £4M to £6M between last year and 2009.
But we are losing our taste for sorbets. Sales were valued at £5M last year, down by 17% from £6M in 2009.
Volume sales have also fallen, down by 7% from 374M litres in 2007 to 347M litres this year.
While Mintel forecasts a 12% rise in value sales to £1.2bn by 2017, volume is expected to fall by 7% to 324M litres.
Old fashioned tubs
Up to 85% of all Britons buy ice cream. Ice cream sticks are bought by one-in-two (51%) of consumers. Nearly a half of Britons (49%) prefer a tub of old fashioned ice cream while more than a third (35%) chooses the traditional cone
Three-in-10 (31%) buy lollies.
One- in-four (25%) buys from ice cream vans.
But ice cream consumption was lower among one-person household, with just 76% making an ice cream purchase. Consumers reported difficulty in finding freezer space to accommodate ice cream.
Price said: “Marketing single-serve products around the notion of a one-off permissible treat should allow brands and own-label players to appeal to the growing number of one-person households who are both short on storage space and are reducing their consumption of ice cream for health reasons.”
Meanwhile, research commissioned by the Food and Drink Federation (FDF) has revealed ice cream to be the nation’s “sexiest snack”.
More than 1,500 people took part in the survey, which identified other top performers as: jammy rings, whipped cream, fish fingers, jelly and battenburg.
“Lattes make us amorous and perhaps also keep us going while sausage rolls are certainly sexy, though pork sausages are a poor relation, languishing as the second least sexy snack after chilli con carne; which heats up few people's lives,” according to the FDF.
The survey forms part of a digital project, developed by the London agency Glow Labs, in a wider FDF campaign; 'Taste Success - A Future in Food'.
Who ate all the ice cream?
- US − 17 litres per head
- Australia − 10.3litres
- Norway − 10.2litres
- Sweden − 8 litres
- Denmark − 7 litres
- UK− 6 litres (10th position).
Who spends most on ice cream?
- Norway − £33 per head
- Australia − £30
- Switzerland − £25
- Sweden − £24
- Finland − £24
- UK − £17 (10th place)