The economic impact of measures implemented to curb the spread of COVID-19 have led to heightened consumer budget-consciousness, with job losses and pay cuts significantly undermining purchasing power and forcing consumers to focus spending on essential items to the detriment of categories such as ice cream and frozen desserts. Shop closures and lockdown restrictions also affected consumer behaviour, leading to cutbacks on spending.
Many retailers in Tunisia, especially chained supermarkets, offered delivery of grocery products in the context of restrictions on the operations of physical stores and consumer concerns about viral transmission through social contact. However, ice cream and frozen desserts did not benefit from this service, because it is hard to stock and deliver frozen goods.
Ice cream and frozen desserts in the Tunisian market is dominated by domestic manufacturer, Générale Industrielle de Produits Alimentaires. The long-standing presence of the company in Tunisia is the main reason for the widespread popularity of its two flagship brands, Selja and Olà, both of which have been available since the 1990s.
While the health and wellness trend has become deeply ingrained in the global packaged food market and is exerting a growing influence in the Tunisian market, it has yet to have a significant effect on the ice cream and frozen desserts category. The market has seen virtually no local media articles recommending sugar-free or “healthy” ice cream products and, with limited consumer-awareness of or demand for such products, manufacturers have had little incentive to invest in health-orientated product innovation.
With the waning of the immediate threat from COVID-19, the Tunisian Government is set to lift more restrictions, including extending the opening hours of retailers and easing the curfew. Extending the opening hours of retail and foodservice outlets will have a positive impact on sales of ice cream and frozen desserts.
Ice cream and frozen desserts is still far from maturity in the Tunisian market, leaving considerable room for new entrants, especially in the premium segment. However, the measures imposed with the aim of limiting the spread of COVID-19 have had a significant effect on consumers’ confidence and spending power, deterring them from purchasing non-essential products and acting as an obstacle to premiumisation.
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This report originates from Passport, our Ice Cream and Frozen Desserts research and analysis database.
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