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Brain Licker Sour Blue Raspberry Freezer Slushy, 100ml, (24 pack)

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Throughout the pandemic, shoppers swapped meals in restaurants for dinners at home, often including a dessert of ice cream, which helped ice cream sales grow in convenience, claims Partners for Growth. “However, the return of normality and annualisation of 2020’s strong performance saw flat growth of +0.6% for take home ice cream in 2021 []Nielsen MAT 17th July 2021 Total Coverage Convenience/Total Impulse].” Unilever’s Partners for Growth observes that healthier options are driving ice cream sales. “This performance can be attributed to the growing options available on the market, including low calorie, dairy free, and vegan options, catering to a wider audience,” says the group. We see lots of young people coming in for lollies and ice creams in the summer,” confirms Ajay Singh of Premier Morley in Leeds.

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As one of the nation’s favourite treats, ice cream is a category that continues to grow, with consumers enjoying new and interesting formats and more choice than ever before. Take home ice cream has 92% household penetration, underlining the enormous popularity the category enjoys [Nielsen & Kantar 52wk data to 25.12.2].” The past year has seen a number of key trends that have contributed to our handheld ice creams growing at a phenomenal rate across all channels,” she says. Frozen food chain Iceland held a competition to find the perfect summertime jokes to feature on a range of Barratt ice lollies

Ice cream is a treat category and enjoyment is the main driver of consumption – consumers tell us it has to taste good, so while it’s likely that some impulsive sales will be lost in larger retail chains where HFSS restrictions on promotional space and mechanics will apply, we expect shoppers will continue to look for their favourite ice creams products to meet their need for an indulgent treat.” The warmer summer months are particularly important for the impulse ice cream market where sales usually spike as the temperature rises – 86% of sales come between April and September [Nielsen & Kantar 52wk Data to 25.12.2],” says Craven. “Sales can double from one week to the next if the sun shines, so we advise retailers to keep a close eye on the weather forecast.”Häagen-Dazs on-the-go Chocolate Handhelds have seen a dramatic +91% growth in convenience vs. two YA and we expect to build on this in 2022.” Brands are responding too. For example, at the end of 2021 New Forest Ice Cream added two new flavours to its dairy-free range: Vegan Vanilla Fudge and Lemon and Lime Sorbet. Craven adds that despite the new regs, indulgence-seeking shoppers will still be searching for their favourites in-store – wherever they’re positioned.

At a total level, Take Home Ice Cream commands the largest share of the market, adds Craven. “However in the convenience channel, impulse ice cream has a much greater share, accounting for almost 50% of annual value sales, rising to 63% in the summer months [ibid],” he says. With a majority of convenience stores being exempt from HFSS regulations, we do not envision the upcoming changes to have too much of an impact on the category,” says Burchell. “If anything, the channel has a fantastic opportunity to ramp up promotional activity and take on larger stores or the multiples who will have to adhere to HFSS regulations.”It’s something that all ages go for. If people want a treat and it’s warm that’s what they’ll come in and choose.” Elsewhere in health, c-store retailers are now acutely aware that HFSS regulations are due to drop later this year. Burchell says that this might actually be to some c-stores’ advantage. However, the sun shining in the UK still might not make 2022 a bumper sales year if shoppers are escaping abroad. Plus, future price rises could potentially dull appetites.

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