Dreams of summer
Everybody loves ice cream; even as adults it feels like a treat and an indulgence, and the arrival of spring and summer each year brings with it the promise of iconic favourites as well as new twists. For a strong summer’s sales, it’s important to stock both, writes Doug Whelan
18 April 2017 | 0
Irish summers and ice cream go hand in hand. Also in the mix is Ireland’s unpredictable weather, that can be solely responsible for the surge and decline of sales. Overall, growth in the ice cream segment was +5% in 2015*, a large portion of which is through impulse purchases thanks to unexpected good weather.
Also driving sales in the modern era is the proliferation of in-store ice cream bars, which promote impulse purchases but are not restricted to times of good weather. Meanwhile, the more traditional view of new product development sees new options and innovations arriving each season, with spring of 2017 being no different.
Both take-home and impulse purchases are key for retailers in the ice cream segment, as we learned by taking a closer look at both sides of the market this month…
*(Source: Euromonitor – Ice Cream and Frozen Desserts in Ireland, October 2015)
Bring added value to your soft ice cream category by allowing customers to create their own unique ice cream with the addition of premium toppings. HB Happiness Station offers retailers a point of difference, an in-store destination that will drive footfall and consumer engagement.
HB’s year-round support including seasonal activations and eye-catching point of sale along with training and operations support, ensures that you can offer your customers a consistent, high quality ice cream experience. New toppings and products will be added to the exciting range for 2017.
*(Nielsen Ice Cream MAT Dec 16)
Love of ice cream among consumers is always growing, with this year spread across impulse, scooping and take-home channels. Major launches from HB in 2017 include Magnum Crackable Tubs, Ben & Jerry’s Topped and HB’s Minions Bello & Max Duo from Unilever Ice Cream.
Unilever drove the 10%* value and 6.5%* volume growth within the Impulse channel through a combination of hugely successful NPD like Magnum Doubles, Calippo Cola, Twister Blackcurrant, B&J Witch, & Cornetto Mint coupled with massive marketing campaigns such as the award-winning ‘HB Goodbye Serious’ activation driving consumers to the impulse freezer.
Likewise, consumers flocked to purchase ice cream for take-home occasions, driving overall market growth of 4.3%* value sales.
Similarly, 2017 is shaping up to be a stellar year for Unilever Ice Cream, with some exciting new product launches tipped to tantalise the taste buds of consumers and propel the ice cream category into continued strong growth.
Bigger than ever
This summer sees the launch of the classic Magnum Ice Cream in a new crackable tub; carefully made to be broken and enjoyed by the spoonful. Unilever is launching this new twist on an old favourite in three tub flavours; Classic, White and Almond.
Building on the success of Magnum Doubles in 2016, two tasty new flavours – Double Raspberry and Double Coconut – will be launched. Double Raspberry is raspberry ice cream dipped in a chocolate coating and a layer of raspberry sauce, covered in Magnum chocolate. Double Coconut is smooth coconut cream dipped in a chocolate coating and a layer of chocolate sauce, covered in Magnum chocolate. Double Raspberry will be available in both multipack and impulse formats, and the Double Coconut will be available in a 3Xmultipack.
Also being introduced is Minions Bello. HB has teamed up with Minions to create a Banana & Vanilla push-up Ice Cream, just in time for release of the summer blockbuster ‘Despicable Me 3’. Available in both impulse and multipack formats, Minions Bello is created under strict “responsibly made for kids” guidelines and so is a perfect treat.
HB Duo is answering consumer demand for a value proposition in the kids segment. The innovative Max Duo Ice Cream brings together Chocolate & Vanilla Ice Creams, wrapping them side by side in a chocolate coating. Available exclusively in impulse, Max Duo also adheres to the “responsibly made for kids” guidelines. Duo promises to be a big hit in 2017.
Down at the farm
Ireland’s iconic and favourite ice cream dessert brand, HB Hazelbrook Farm, is undergoing a complete revamp in 2017, starting with a modern new pack design, and extension of the number two HB brick flavour Raspberry Ripple into the 900ml Tub format. The relaunch will be supported with a heavily weighted investment campaign featuring new advertising and activation. In addition, HB Hazelbrook Farm continues to support Down Syndrome Ireland by raising much-needed funds through the HB Ice Cream Fundays campaign.
For details on holding a HB Ice Cream Funday of your own, you are encouraged to visit www.downsyndrome.ie.
Big things ahead
After the success of Ben & Jerry’s launch into the snacking segment in 2016 with ‘Wich, Ben & Jerry’s is planning an even bigger and better 2017, supporting the range with a massive campaign to further pushing this innovative format.
Furthermore, Ben & Jerry’s is taking things up a level with its latest Pint creation: Ben & Jerry’s Topped. The new Topped flavour family is set to add a whole new layer of euphoria to the brand’s successful portfolio. Each ice cream comes with an all-new layer of spoonable soft topping with extra chocolatey chunks on top, while the new collection comes in three unique flavour combinations: Salted Caramel Brownie, Chocolate Caramel Cookie Dough, & Strawberry Swirled.
Carte D’Or is going from strength to strength currently, having doubled in size over the past two years. The brand has two tasty ranges, Classic and Gelateria, and is set to launch a new and exciting flavour this year in the shape of Profiterole. It’s tipped as “a deconstructed dessert like no other”.
The Carte D’Or Gelateria Scooping experience is designed to convey the premium character and sophistication of an authentic Gelateria. The high quality ice cream offers superior appearance and taste, with a wide range of flavours new for 2017 including Candyfloss. From new and improved energy consumption cabinets to branding and operations support, Carte D’Or offers a complete scoop solution that in return offers a high margin and short payback period.
Get the scoop!
A new range for 2017 has been launched by Dale Farm, which includes new impulse lines and new additions to the take-home range. According to Nigel Cairns, commercial director for Dale Farm Ice Cream, the resulting offering is a diverse range both nostalgic and innovative, with an indulgent treat for all members for the family.
“With strategic brand plans in place,” Cairns says, “our ice creams will deliver real results for our retail customers throughout this summer season and beyond.
“We’ve been working hard to develop a diverse range for this year,” he continues, “with twists on our existing products and inventive new lines.”
Taking one giant leap into Dale Farm’s ice-cream portfolio is the Giant Cone. Evolved from Dale Farm’s much-loved Giant Bar, it is a wafer cone filled with vanilla ice-cream, topped with milk chocolate and chocolate coated toffee balls.
As consumers continue to seek out a well-deserved treat, Dale Farm’s Rapture Cookies & Cream makes an ideal indulgence. Bourbon vanilla dairy ice-cream mixed with crunchy cookie chunks and covered in Belgian milk chocolate with crisp cookie pieces, it offers a new twist on the brand’s Rapture ice cream.
Dale Farm’s approach is that it is always in tune to the needs of families, and thus has a number of new ice cream lines that are perfect for the home freezer. A new multipack, Dale Farm’s Cool Cones contains vanilla flavour ice cream in a biscuit cone, decorated with chocolate and roasted, sugared hazelnuts – a tempting treat for the whole family.
Families can also now enjoy the unmistakeable taste of one of Mullins’ most loved ice-cream flavours in the pleasure of their own home. Cookies & Cream has been one of the company’s top-selling scoop ice cream flavours for several years and, as a result, is now available in a 900ml take-home tub. Real vanilla dairy ice cream, it is hand-mixed with real chunks of chocolate cookies, making a welcome addition to the Mullins family range.
Contact Sean Conacur at Dale Farm Ice Cream on 00 353 86 2554594 or sean.conacur@dale farm.co.uk.
Make it special
Since its small beginnings in 2005 to its current position as Ireland’s number one soft-serve ice cream solution, Smooch is a dynamic brand that offers retailers a solution to expand the ice cream season all-year round while boosting the category’s profits at once.
Smooch’s philosophy is its love and passion for creating tasty and creamy in-store treats. It’s an easy process for customers: choose a base flavour, then follow one of the preset recipes or experiment with their very own unique combination. The extensive menu offers luxury choices such as Ferrero Rocher and Chocolate Cookies to family favourites such as Oreo and Smarties.
Customers can even turn their favourite ice cream into a mouth-watering milkshake by adding a chocolate bar of their choice. The possibilities are endless!
There are a whole galaxy of reasons why retailers would be wise to introduce Smooch to their in-store offering…
- Vastly increase profitability in ice cream category
- Return on investment can be achieved in as little as one month
- Increase footfall by bringing in new customers curious to try it out
- Maximum visual impact will create real point of difference in store
- All-year round ice cream solution
As a brand, Smooch says it provides an unparalleled service to every retailer it works with. From an initial site survey, the Smooch team will project manage, design and install a working ice cream parlour to custom specifications within the available space. Smooch also offers all retail partners continuous support through marketing promotions and training. With 150 Smooch sites nationwide, the brand’s popularity continues to grow, with new ice cream parlours opening each month.
Follow your impulse
Impulse ice cream sales grew by 11% during 2016, with strong growth of 18% by Nestlé and Cadbury specifically. The key factor in this growth was the stocking of a mix of brands to drive consumer demand.
To that end, popular varieties such as Rowntree Fruit Screamers, Cadbury Flake Cone, Oreo Cookie, Cadbury Dairy Milk, Cadbury Crunchie Blast Sticks, Rowntree Fruit Pastille Lolly, and Nestle Smarties Pop Up continued to drive sales in the Impulse category.
2016 saw the launch of R&R’s Daim Stick, inspired by the iconic toffee crunch bar, and it has surpassed all of the company’s expectations.
The need to stock a broad range of branded impulse ice cream brands is something more and more retailers are cottoning on to. That is one of the key factors in the 11% growth the segment has seen in the past 12 months.
The latest product to hit the market from R&R Ice Cream is the Rowntree Fruit Pastille Froots. Kids will respond immediately to this new treat, consisting of Raspberry Sorbet and Lime Ice Cream in a Blackcurrant Sorbet shell.
Meanwhile, R&R’s price-marked multipacks – Oreo Cone, Cadbury Buttons, Smarties Cone and Rowntree Randoms Mini Sticks – offer great value and price transparency to the consumer. As a result, they are very popular with retailers and consumers alike.
Paul Kelly is head of marketing and refreshment for Unilever Ireland which, as he explains here, has far reaching plans for expanding ice cream in all areas for consumers, while also driving growth for retailers
What current trends are impacting the Irish ice cream category?
Indulgence, health and goodness, snacking, and experience are the key trends impacting the ice cream category in Ireland today. Indulgent occasions are delivering growth and this is reflective in ice cream, where the indulgence sub-segment grew by €2.8m in 2016. Ice cream is the ultimate treat for families, and through brands like Magnum bringing excitement, innovation and new flavours, we plan to continue expanding the category. Health and goodness is a key trend that is promoting a rise in diet-conscious choices, and so as a category we need to ensure we meet those diet choices with permissible treat size packs and “free from” offerings such as Swedish Glace. Snacking occasions for both take-home and on-the-go are continuing to grow, and through new product formats like Ben & Jerry’s ‘Wich we aim to ensure ice cream is a destination location for those looking for a snacking. Consumers are looking for real experiences where they can design and create what they want, which has promoted the rapid growth in scooping and brand experiences such as Carte D’Or Scooping, and the HB Happiness Stations.
The impulse segment is very important. How are you innovating to capture this market?
Yes the impulse segment is massively important, and we have a number of innovations to drive consumers into the ice cream category. Ben & Jerry’s ‘Wich range has proved hugely successful in winning within the snacking occasion, and we are following this up with a massive campaign to drive further trial and awareness. We also have also teamed up with Universal to launch Minions Bello, an exciting new push-up ice cream. We are also innovating with freezer units to ensure we can access the best locations to trigger the impulse purchase. Within our Experiences channel, we are continuing to innovate around new flavours, and offerings.
HB has decided to relaunch traditional favourites such as HB Hazelbrook Farm, Iceberger, Choc Ice, Maxi Twist, Brunch and more. Why do you believe there is a need to relaunch these products?
Cabinets can be a cluttered environment, so we have refreshed the pack designs in order to create strong standouts. For HB Hazelbrook Farm, we went back to our roots to feature the 1898 HazelBrook farmhouse, which was home to the Hughes Brothers and the original HB Dairy. We have large-scale campaigns planned to support the relaunches, especially across channel such as outdoor media, social and activation.
How will retailers benefit from the relaunch, and how do you encourage them to support the relaunch?
The ice cream category is one of the most expandable categories in retail grocery, and we will be investing heavily to ensure ice cream is top of mind for consumers, driving desirability. Visibility and range play a key role in the path to purchase and triggering a sale, therefore we encourage retailers to ensure they continually stocked with the proven best sellers, and the cabinets are in the prime impulse location with the eye-catching POS displayed.
An industry view
Ice cream’s popularity in Ireland is deep-rooted in memories of home and family. This popularity is currently on an upward trajectory, potentially as a reflection on the overall spending increases by the Irish public in recent years as noted by the Visa Consumer Spending Index and other sources.
Ice cream is largely an impulse purchase, so with a rise in disposable income comes a rise in such purchases. According to Euromonitor’s latest figures, the ice cream and frozen desserts segment increased by 2% in value terms during 2016, with the category valued at €165m.
Growth during the period of Euromonitor’s latest report, was faster compared to the review period of the previous report. This was due to reduced sales caused by – another surprising element affecting ice-cream sales – the weather during 2015 being much less favourable. Poor weather particularly affects sales of ice cream in the impulse category.
Despite this 2% increase overall, frozen desserts saw a decline in volume terms due to a perceived low level of interest in the category among consumers.
In terms of brands, the category leader during 2016 remained Unilever Ireland, with a market share of 57%.
Euromonitor predicts that ice cream and frozen desserts will continue to increase in value in the coming years. If this growth continues, the report states the segment is expected to reach a value of €169m by 2021.
The report includes the proviso, however, that the ice cream segment will also continue to be an unpredictable one, dependent on weather and disposable income, both of which will continue to be as unforeseeable as ever.
Changes to archaic ice cream regulations proposed by government
In the interest of public health, TDs move to overhaul generations-old laws governing sugar and fat content in ice cream
We see regularly in almost every area of the retail industry, the nation of Ireland has been moving towards an ever-healthier lifestyle in recent years. While consumers seek healthier options for themselves and for their families, manufacturers move to fulfil this need. While ice cream is certainly an indulgence, manufacturers have been working to meet the demand for healthier options, in particular for younger consumers whose parents are conscientious about what they are giving their kids, even at treat times. We can see this in action, for example, through HB’s “responsibly made for kids” initiative, which helps to reassure parents that ice cream treats can be enjoyed as part of a healthy diet and lifestyle.
Now, the government is going one better. Minister of State for Health Promotion, Marcella Corcoran Kennedy, has proposed to revoke the Food Standards (Ice Cream) Regulations 1952, which set the compositional requirements for ice cream such as its minimum milk fat, milk solids and sugar content.
Moves by industry to reduce the sugar, salt and fat content in their products, is sometimes stifled by regulations. In the case of ice cream, it is required by the above law to contain at least 10% sugar. This presents problems for any company aiming to reduce said sugar content.
In a statement, the FSAI said that the proposed change to regulations was because the 1952 law is no longer fit for purpose. The move comes as part of the Department of Health’s strategy ‘A Healthy Weight for Ireland – Obesity Policy and Action Plan 2016 – 2025’, which aims to address Ireland’s growing obesity problem in the coming years.