“Considering recent growth in yogurt and butter, ice cream and related products industry may be the next dairy product category poised for stronger growth,” says Stephanie Budynski, coordinating researcher with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry.

Between 2017 and 2018, the dollar sales of ice cream and related products increased by nearly 12% in Alberta grocery stores.

“Additionally, she adds, “Nielsen Market Track data and market research reports reveal that Alberta’s ice cream and related products industry has been impacted by consumer trends.”

One consumer trend that has impacted the ice cream and related products industry is snackification.

“Consumers have increased their demand for convenience-based products,” explains Budynski. “Ice cream products, once viewed as an occasional dessert, may be enjoyed as a snack option. Snack-sized portions appeal to health conscious consumers as a way to limit their caloric intake. The industry has witnessed an increase in single-serve formats.”

Nielsen Market Track data has reported an increase in the sales of ice cream and related products in smaller package sizes.

“Between 2017 and 2018, ice cream products packaged in 500 mL or smaller packages experienced a 45% increase in dollar sales. On the flip side, sales of ice cream packaged in 2 to 4 litre containers decreased by 1%.”

She notes that traditional flavours - chocolate, vanilla, strawberry - have historically captured the bulk of the ice cream market. In 2018, vanilla was the most popular flavour in terms of dollar sales and volume sales.

“However, there is an increase in demand for a larger variety of flavours, especially by Asian-Pacific consumers. A new term - swavoury - describes ice cream flavours that are both sweet and savoury. Ice cream manufacturers may introduce new products by adding unconventional flavours to a more classic flavour like vanilla. Seasonal flavours have also increased in popularity. This may be an avenue for ice cream manufacturers to introduce new products without introducing them to their year-round product lineup.”

Another trend that is impacting the ice cream and related products industry is premiumisation.

“Consumers have increased their demand for products that they consider premium,” she explains. “By including additional ingredients - cookies, candies, etc. - ice cream producers may be able to develop the perception of a premium product. In some cases, consumers may perceive a product to be premium if it includes natural or authentic ingredients. What a consumer considers premium is highly dependent on demographic factors. Therefore, it is important that retailers identify attributes in particular are considered premium within their markets.”

Read Retail Trends in Ice Cream Sales (PDF, 593 KB).


For more information about Trends in Retail, connect with Stephanie Budynski:

Hours: 8:15 am to 4:30 pm (open Monday to Friday, closed statutory holidays)
Phone: 780-422-0264
Toll free: 310-0000 before the phone number (in Alberta)
Email: stephanie.budynski@gov.ab.ca