#Trendspotting: The Scoop on Frozen Desserts

 In Blog, Trendspotting

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trendspotting frozen desserts

From fantasy flavors to functional icy treats, the frozen desserts market is projected to experience a CAGR of 5.5% from 2022-2027.* Continued innovation in this category has kept this category on track for success, with new product releases and unique concepts popping into freezers in retail stores and foodservice locations. We’re highlighting three subgroups of this market that are driving success. Although there was an 88% increase in frozen dessert product launches between 2019-2021, there’s still a ton of room for innovation (and it just so happens that Imbibe can help you with that).*

Non-dairy & Non-animal Dairy    |    Functional Foods Go Frozen
        Melt-worthy Flavors

Non-dairy & Non-animal Dairy

Consumers seek out plant-based and dairy-free alternatives for their favorite foods including meat products, ‘milks’, and ice cream. It was reported in 2020 that non-dairy frozen dessert sales are slated to exceed $1 billion worldwide by 2024.3: This space started seeing innovation with entrepreneurial visionaries attempting to create alt-dairy lookalikes of the traditional options for frozen desserts. It was led by brands like Tofutti and Rice Dream, which are still prominent, followed by dairy-based market leaders Häagen-DazsBreyersBen & Jerry’sBaskin-Robbins, and Magnum.

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Since then, as more experimentation in this category has happened, so has the evolution for this chilled category. Some consumers are no longer choosing these products to leave dairy out of their diets (whether for dietary reasons or lifestyle choices), but rather as a preference. At the end of 2021, The Urgent Company, the CPG company from Perfect Day, announced the acquisition of ice cream brand  Coolhaus and the transition of its full portfolio of ice cream and novelties to include the animal-free whey protein.

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There are a number of options to choose from when it comes to almond, oat, and coconut-based desserts (like NadaMoo!, which just added Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough to its lineup), but we’re also starting to see some unique protein options come on the scene, showing potential for continued improvement in creating the taste and creamy mouthfeel that consumers may miss from traditional ice cream (The SensesTM can help with that 🍦). Vegan brand, Wicked Kitchen launched its ice cream that is made with a base of lupini beans (a legume that is commonly eaten as a pickled snack in the Mediterranean Region).

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Some honorable mentions (and ones to look out for) are avocado (Cado) and chickpea (SweetPea). Do you have a preferred non-traditional frozen dessert base? Send it to Imbibe food scientists and we’ll get to work on optimizing the taste, flavor, and sweetener system.

Functional Foods Go Frozen
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Often times referred to as “nice cream”, better-for-you frozen desserts have scooped up demand by consumers embarking on health journeys. At the beginning of 2022, 46% of consumers said they planned on eating healthier in the new year.4 Low-sugar, low-calorie, and high- protein  options have let consumers indulge in frozen treats without compromising their long-term goals. Ice cream, popsicles, and other functional frozen snacks are available from brands like Halo TopEnlightened, and Yasso, who continue to release new healthier options using alternative sweeteners and high-protein formulations.

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Known for its trendy and unique flavors sold by the scoop or pint, Salt and Straw recently announced its collaboration with Wunderground, to deliver an ice cream that is packed with adaptogens (lion’s mane and cordyceps) for mood-altering benefits. We can except this trend to grow as we’ve already seen ingredients targeting gut health, sleep support, and beauty from Dream Pops and Noosa. Additionally, the functional frozen dessert market is expected to reach USD 319.8 million by 2028 at an 8.56% CAGR.5

Melt-worthy Flavors

Fan favorites in frozen desserts may always consist of the classics – vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry, but consumers are also keen on trying out some more indulgent and unique flavors. 35% of consumers said they are interested in trying cereal milk flavored frozen desserts and 43% said they are interested in oatmeal cookie.5 Salt & Straw released an entire LTO menu of cereal-inspired flavors earlier this year.

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Excitement for new experiences in the frozen dessert category has been met by releases from Brooklyn-based artisanal ice cream company, Van Leeuwen, including Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, Pizza, Planet Earth, Hot Honey, Royal Wedding Cake, Bourbon Cherries Jubilee, and Wild Blueberry Shortcake. The release of the collaboration project with Kraft sold out within hours and was covered by major media outlets all joining in on the curiosity of this unlikely flavor format.

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On the topic of experiential twists, Jeni’s Ice Cream brought back a flavor for the month of May that is designed to look nothing like it tastes, packed with a gray color but delivering a citrusy burst of lemon, passion fruit, and tangerine. You can expect this trend to continue, largely driven by the attempt at viral moments across social media platforms.

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Looking for support on your frozen dessert base? Download our Frozen Dessert Applications overview from our Content Library or email us at marketing@imbibeinc.com to learn how Imbibe can supply the technical resources you need to bring your next product to market.

1.  Global Market Insights
2. Mintel, 2021.
3. Global Market Insights, 2020.
4. Nextbite, 2021.
5. Imbibe Percolator Consumer Panel. N = 300 adults in U.S., December 2021

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