Retail current value sales of ice cream and frozen desserts continued to expand during 2020, albeit at a much slower rate than in the previous year. Restrictions on movement weighed heavily on demand for impulse ice cream, frozen yoghurt and unpackaged ice cream during 2020.
Nestlé Canada Inc and Unilever Canada Inc will continue to account for slightly more than 60% of retail current value sales of ice cream and frozen desserts between them during 2021. However, both of these players saw their value shares decline over the course of the review period, with local consumers turning to what they perceive to be healthier alternatives to such established brands as Nestlé’s Häagen-Dazs and Drumstick and Breyers, Magnum and Popsicle from Unilever.
Growing demand for non-dairy milk alternatives made from almonds and cashews, driven by animal welfare concerns and a desire to avoid lactose, as well as general interest in novel products, has also impacted makers of ice cream. The industry has responded to this trend by developing a wide variety of non-dairy options in ice cream.
The rate of growth in retail current value sales of ice cream and frozen desserts will slow slightly during 2022 but remain robust during the forecast period as a whole. Unpackaged ice cream will be the top performer, as consumers spend more time socialising out of home with friends and family, closely followed by bulk dairy ice cream, where low-calorie, high-protein alternatives to traditional ice cream will continue to grow in popularity with health conscious consumers.
Modern grocery retailers – particularly supermarkets – are the dominant distribution channel for ice cream and frozen desserts, but the retail value share of e-commerce more than doubled during 2020 (albeit from quite a low base) and will continue to grow during both 2021 and the forecast period as a whole. Although the logistical demands of ice cream and frozen desserts are complex, this problem will become less acute (at least in urban areas) as the infrastructure of e-commerce becomes more developed.
Towards the end of the review period, Nestlé Canada parent company Nestlé SA reached an agreement to sell its stake in Froneri, an ice cream-focused joint venture that it formed in 2016 with private-equity firm PAI Partners. This has led to speculation that Nestlé Canada will also exit ice cream, particularly as it is coming under increased pressure from such upstarts as Halo Top.
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