Ice cream may have peaked in the U.S. While growing its global consumer base, the category is struggling in developed markets, with domestic product innovation coming to an abrupt halt in 2014.
The category saw 3 percent global market increase last year, with volume sales up 4 percent, according to new Mintel research, indicating an increase in emerging markets. In the U.S., market growth was flat between 2013 and 2014, across all segments, compared with a 7 percent and 8 percent increase in Russia and China, respectively.
Three emerging trends are poised to influence the ice cream market, according to Mintel. An increasingly fragmented market will lead to more niche companies and products with special qualities like a handcrafted approach. Health concerns will spill into this indulgent category, with an increase in such free-from claims, including GMOs, hormones, and artificial ingredients. And flavor innovation will remain top of mind for manufactures, incorporating new and inventive ingredients and pairings, such as sweet and salty, bitter, and even cheese and alcohol.