The COVID-19 pandemic had a considerable impact on ice cream demand as consumers continues to be negatively affected by the economic fallout from the pandemic in 2020 as well as the recession that started as a result of negative economic growth in quarter four of 2019 and quarter one of 2020. Additionally, 2021 saw steep price increases across multiple categories.
Historically Unilever South Africa (Pty) Ltd was the market leader for ice cream in South Africa; however, as a result of the pandemic impulse buys significantly decreased. Although Unilever South Africa (Pty) Ltd remains the number one player within impulse ice cream, it lost enough value share for Dairymaid Nestlé (Pty) Ltd to take the number one place in ice cream overall.
Famous Brands bought the Wakaberry Frozen Yoghurt Bar franchise a few years ago and saw great success with their frozen yoghurt in South Africa. This brand was particularly popular with tweens who could now serve themselves frozen yoghurt from a soft-serve machine and top it with decadent toppings like candy, nuts and various sauces.
The COVID-19 pandemic severely impacted disposable incomes of many consumers and lingering effects is expected to continue into the forecast period. During the pandemic, consumers made fewer trips to modern grocery retailers; however, the spend per trip was much higher than the typical basket shop prior to the pandemic.
Bulk dairy ice cream is expected to remain the largest ice cream category in South Africa thanks to its value and variety. However, the market is nearing maturity with strong brand and private label presence.
Frozen desserts is still in its infancy in South Africa and consumer awareness is still relatively low compared to the rest of the category’s products such as ice cream. Historically Woolworths was the only significant player in frozen desserts; however, their products were expensive and unattainable to most consumers.
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