“2018 was a key year, exceptional” for ice cream, welcomed Sylvie Galliaerde, president of the Association of ice cream companies during a press briefing, stressing that ice cream is the category that has experienced the strongest growth. of mass distribution.
Some 237.8 million liters of ice were sold in 2018 for a turnover of 1.180 billion euros against 223.3 million the previous year. These figures correspond to an increase in value of 8.4% and 6.3% in volume.
“We have even more buyers and who buy more often”, detailed Sébastien Monard of the Nielsen firm, who carried out the 2018 report on the market in large and medium-sized stores. Some 84.7% of households bought ice cream at least once a year, for an average annual budget of 46.6 euros and an increase of three euros compared to 2017.
Innovation rather than the weather
In terms of distribution channels, hypermarkets and supermarkets still dominate (75% of turnover) but drive has recorded strong growth (+ 15% in value over the year).
Companies downplayed the importance of the “weather” factor in explaining sales growth, preferring to highlight the creativity of the sector. Innovations accounted for 14.8% of turnover in 2018. In total, 58 new products were launched in 2018 for a turnover of 74.7 million euros (+ 10%).
The mini formats, whether in cones, sticks or bins, are the most creative sources of growth with a 23.3% increase in turnover in one year. This trend is in line with the “new consumer needs” according to the manufacturers who underline the multiplication of moments of “snacking” such as after-dinner.
Towards “Instagrammable” sensory experiences?
If seniors are still buying more ice cream, companies are still struggling to win over those under 35 in search of “new sensory experiences” “Instagrammable”, according to the manufacturers. “The consumer is more adventurous, more curious especially the young people”, observes Sophie de Reynal, marketing director of the consulting agency Nutri, taking the example of new flavors such as “tartiflette ice cream” tested by an ice cream maker.
For the future, companies are banking on the expanding vegan and organic market to meet consumers’ desire to “eat better” and intend to take up the challenge of distributing sales more effectively over the year with new products. The association of ice cream companies was created in 2016 and brings together eight industry leaders, excluding artisans.