The performance of ice cream and frozen desserts remains impacted by COVID-19 in 2021, with slower current value growth rates anticipated than were seen during the review period. However, sales are expected to increase from the previous year thanks to some lifting of COVID-19 restrictions during the summer holiday season.
In 2021, Unilever Group is expected to overtake Nestlé Adriatik Makedonija as the lead player in ice cream and frozen desserts in value terms, although both companies are expected to lose some value share to smaller domestic players. This is despite heavy investment in marketing and distribution.
Independent small grocers is set to remain the most popular distribution channel in 2021, despite the challenges facing retailers during the pandemic. However, its value share is expected to decline slightly as hypermarkets and e-commerce benefit from changing consumer behaviour.
Following a sluggish performance in 2020 and 2021, ice cream and frozen desserts is expected to make a full recovery by 2026 as the pandemic recedes and there are more opportunities for on-the-go consumption. Gradual economic recovery will also enable the category to record stronger current value and foodservice volume growth across the forecast period than was seen during the review period.
Before the pandemic, demand for ice cream and frozen desserts was highly polarised. On the one hand, there was a very strong consumer demand for economy brands, which were typically sold via discounters, whilst on the other hand, a growing consumer base sought out premium and healthy ice cream and frozen desserts brands, which were typically sold via large chained supermarkets and hypermarkets.
Ice cream is a mature and saturated product area and is therefore expected to see slightly lower volume growth than frozen desserts in the coming years. The competitive landscape is also relatively fragmented, and leading manufacturers will need to innovate in terms of ingredients, formulations, formats and packaging in order to retain and attract local consumers.
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