According to Mintel consumer research data, 38% of frozen novelty consumers reported that they are snacking more often than before the pandemic and in the last six months, 59% of consumers said they purchased frozen desserts as a snack.
"If you look at the data through the end of September, there's been a clear shift in the last year towards frozen novelties from packaged ice cream. Within frozen novelties, plant-based novelties is actually growing 35%, and that’s the area where GoodPop is very consciously playing in," GoodPop president and COO Rahul Shah, who joined the company from Unilever in June 2021, told FoodNavigator-USA.
"Our strategy is to clean up the classics," he said.
Last year, GoodPop made the decision to switch its entire portfolio to plant-based formulations, swapping out dairy ingredients for a coconut cream base to update some of its core SKUs including coffee (now cold brew latte) and milk chocolate (now chocolate fudge). The brand also launched several new products, including orange and cream (a top-selling SKU) and cookies and cream.
"The decision was the right one," said Shah. "We’re seeing our velocities outperform what we were seeing previously on the old items."
To support its overhaul to becoming a 100% plant-based company, GoodPop also refreshed its packaging with a new logo and updated banner in the brand's signature 'Good Day Teal' color. The brand also set aside more packaging real estate on the back of the box to promote its 'Pledge Good' mission, in which the company donates to a range of social causes.
New consumers flock to frozen novelties
In terms of overall company performance, Shah said that the emerging Austin, Texas-based brand registered 50% growth in 2020 and will close out 2021 with 50+%.
"What’s most exciting is that it’s being driven by introducing new consumers to the novelties category. Half of the growth that we’re seeing this year is being sourced by people that were not buying frozen novelties in the past," said Shah.
This type of incremental growth has raised interest levels from retailers, who are making more space in their freezer sets for GoodPop and other better-for-you brands. GoodPop products are currently available at several retailers in the natural and conventional channels in over 40 states for a suggested retail price of $4.99-$5.99 per 4-count box.
Asked about the seasonality (increased sales in the warmer summer months and drop off in the fall and winter seasons) of GoodPop and products like it, Shah said: "Historically, the novelties space has been more seasonal than packaged ice cream. What’s interesting though is within the frozen novelties category, the level of seasonality varies by format and by segment. Ice pops are more seasonal than ice cream bars and ice cream sandwiches."
Shah added the company has seen a rise in its direct-to-consumer sales and that in addition to its online store, GoodPop is partnering with food delivery apps UberEats, DoorDash, Postmates, Grubhub in its home state of Texas and will roll out to more states soon.
Where next for the frozen novelties category?
"In years past there’s been high protein, low calorie, or alternative sweeteners, and low-carb variants that have entered the market. And we're eagerly anticipating plant-based to be a long-term shift in the category," said Shah.
Entering 2022, Shah said that he feels positive about the brand's position in the marketplace and has plans to continue to increase distribution and introduce new product innovation.
"We’re still studying the category overall. We’re trying to figure out is it the shift towards permissible snacking that’s driving plant-based or is it the fact that people are looking for plant-based that’s allowing more permissible snacking," said Shah.
"The good news is that regardless, people are seeing GoodPop as a permissible indulgence and plant-based alternative to some of the classic SKUs they’ve seen in the past."