Summertime is officially underway, and with warmer weather comes colder sweet treats to keep cool. This month, consumers around the country are indulging in ice cream to celebrate National Ice Cream Month.
While consumers enjoy a little sweet indulgence every now and then, health and wellness is still top of mind for many. According to Nielsen’s Global Ingredient study, 68% of consumers say they’re willing to spend more on foods and drinks that don’t contain undesirable ingredients.
In many cases, consumers are looking for better-for-you foods, including those that may contain natural and clean label claims, less added sugars or dairy alternatives like almond milk, to name a few. The same goes for ice cream, and many new, smaller manufacturers are getting into the frozen aisles. Nielsen Product Insider, powered by Label Insight, shows that small food and beverage manufacturers are leading both dollar sales and growth. In the last year alone, 40% of small manufacturers’ dollar sales came from clean label products.
As a result, many new and innovative ice cream brands developed by small manufacturers are popping up in the freezer section. And these products have tapped into the better-for-you claims trend with label attributes like “good source of protein,” “vegan” and “low glycemic”—claims and specifications that are driving the highest dollar sales in the ice cream category.
But July isn’t the only month that Americans proclaim their love for ice cream: they consume this sweet treat all year around. Across the total ice cream category, however, consumers are increasingly flocking to non-dairy varieties, which saw the highest dollar sales growth than any other subcategory (49% vs. the previous year).
Whether consumers are fans of chocolate, fruity, nutty or citrus-infused flavors as they indulge in ice cream treats, one thing is for certain: they’re paying attention to both label claims and ingredients. Ice cream manufacturers should keep these better-for-you options top of mind as they innovate their product ingredients and label claims on packaging. For retailers, innovating the ice cream aisle with assortments that appeal to consumers’ focus on health and wellness will lead them to continue enjoying their ice cream of choice all year round.