October 2017

North America Ice Cream Market – Growth, Trends and Forecasts (2018 - 2023)

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Market Insights

North America ice cream market is expected to register a CAGR of 4.1% during the forecast period, 2018 to 2023. The rise in income along with an increased indulgence for sweet dishes drives the growth of this market. Unilever dominates the global market followed by Nestle. The sales of low-quality ice cream have been declining due to the increased preference for premium ice cream. The innovative flavors that companies have come up with act as a major driver for this market. Moreover, private labelling reduces the price of ice creams, thereby increasing the demand. The sales of basic variety ice creams have been declining in favor of premium ones. Currently, the United States is leading the way due to the introduction of handcrafted ice creams, which is relatively linked to the market maturity.

  • Arctic Zero is seeking to address an unmet need in the frozen dessert aisle with the launch of what it claims is the first light ice cream (made with cream and milk, but containing only 280-360 calories a pint) that doesn’t contain sugar alcohols or high intensity sweeteners. The new line is sweetened with cane sugar and is in regards with the customer requests for a guilt-free product that delivers a creamier mouthfeel, but retains a clean label.
  • Halo Top ice creams are high in proteins and low in calories and sugar. The company claims that they still taste like regular ice creams. All of their varieties of ice creams are between 240-280 calories a pint. This is nearly half the number of calories offered by ice creams of other vendors. Unlike the regular ones, these ice creams freeze hard as they contain less softening ingredients, which are typically high milk fat content or stabilizers. The company has recently entered the Irish market, and is now available at Tesco.

New Innovative Flavors are in Demand

New innovative flavors, introduced by companies, act as a major driver for this market. Also, private labeling reduces the price of ice cream in North America and increases its demand as a result. A rise in the demand for ice creams, from consumers above 50 years, is another factor that contributes to the growth. However, health concerns pose a threat to this market. Hence, ice cream manufacturers have introduced lactose-free ice creams, especially to cater to people suffering from lactose intolerance. Due to the rising health concern of ice cream consumption, Americans are now preferring ice cream products which are GMO-free, hormone-free, additive- and preservative- free, low in calories and organic and fat-free in nature. Inclination of United States consumers is shifting from ice creams to natural yoghurt and other desserts. Flavors, such salted caramel and salted vanilla flavor combinations are more in demand.

Impulse Purchase forms the Largest Portion of Total Ice Cream Sales

Most of the ice cream brands in North America are eying the customer shift from impulse to take-home purchase. Compared to impulse purchase, take-home purchase is more predictable, reliable and profitable for companies. Vanilla and chocolate flavor of ice cream are the top flavors in impulse purchase category. Birds Eye Wall's (BEW), which is a subsidiary of Unilever, accounted for 70% of impulse purchase of ice cream. The other market players that dominate in this segment are Nestle and Mars.

United States the Largest Consumer and Producer Country of Ice Cream in North America

North America is the third largest market for global ice cream industry. Currently, the North America accounts for 19% share of global ice cream market. United States is the largest consumer and producer of ice cream, followed by Canada and then Mexico. Recently, the North American ice cream industry experienced slow growth rate, due to reduced consumption in United States.

Unilever, Nestle, R&R, Lotte and General Mills are the Top Players in the Region

North America has a fragmented market for ice cream; there are many regional and local niche players operating in the market. Unilever, R&R, Nestle, Sorvetes Jundia, Mars, Lotte, General Mills and Mengniu are the major players in this market. As per the market trends, North America is more of an impulse purchasing region. Vanilla is the most preferred flavor here. However, ice cream market in North America is facing significant competition from other frozen desserts, such as yogurt.


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  • Analyzing outlook of the market with the recent trends and Porter’s five forces analysis.
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  • Competitive landscape involving the market share of major players along with the key strategies adopted for development in the past five years.
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  • Consumer behavior analysis at country level
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