Dairy free frozen desserts bright spot in category

Who is winning in the US retail frozen desserts market?

By Elaine Watson

- Last updated on GMT

While sales of frozen yogurts are in decline, dairy-free brands such as So Delicious and Almond Dream grew strongly in 2014
While sales of frozen yogurts are in decline, dairy-free brands such as So Delicious and Almond Dream grew strongly in 2014
While frozen yogurt franchises might be appearing on every street corner, US retail sales of frozen yogurt/tofu have slumped over the past year, with multi-outlet* data from Chicago-based market research firm IRI revealing an 8.23% drop in dollar sales and a 9.94% decline in unit sales in the 52 weeks to November 2, 2014.

While some brands have grown, notably Kemps and Blue Bunny, Mayfield, and Dannon Oikos (a new launch); some of the biggest names in frozen yogurt failed to impress, with Ben & Jerry’s (Unilever), Yoplait, Healthy Choice (ConAgra Foods), and Dreyer’s Edy’s (Nestlé) all posting double-digit declines in dollar sales over the same period; and Häagen-Dazs (General Mills) posting a single-digit drop.

Bright spot: Dairy-free frozen desserts

However, dairy-free frozen desserts (which IRI includes in the frozen yogurt/tofu category) performed considerably better, with dollar sales of Almond Dream and So Delicious up 32% and 33% respectively over the same period. (click HERE​ to read about the category from recent entrant DF Mavens.)

In the ice milk/frozen dairy dessert category - dollar sales of which were down 8.71% - Arctic Zero performed well, along with several Breyers products (owned by Unilever).

Talenti bucks declining trend in sherberts/sorbet/ices category

In the sherberts/sorbet/ices category - dollar sales of which were down 6.68% -Talenti performed strongly (+54%) while Blue Bell, Prairie Farms, and Dean’s Country Fresh also did well. (Click HERE​ to read about Talenti’s acquisition by Unilever.) 

Frozen cheesecake dollar sales were down 6.06%, frozen sweet goods (excluding cheesecake) were down 6.37%, frozen whip toppings were down 5.83% and frozen pies were down 1.34%.

Ice cream sales +2.4%, frozen yogurt sales -8.2%

Talenti flavors
Premium gelato and sorbet brand Talenti - acquired by Unilever this week - was a clear winner in the frozen aisle in 2014

In the ice cream aisle, things were more positive, with dollar sales up 2.4% and unit sales up 1.09% in the 52-week period, with particularly strong performances from some small to medium sized brands including Talenti (revenues approaching $120m this year), Tillamook and Turkey Hill.

* IRI is a Chicago-based market research firm. Its US Multi-Outlet data covers supermarkets, drugstores, mass market retailers, military commissaries and select club & dollar retail chains.

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