Ice cream has kept its cool during recession, with perceptions of it as an affordable luxury outweighing thrift and health considerations.
According to Mintel, UK sales grew to £799m last year, up from £743m in 2008, and premium ice cream has proved hugely successful, now accounting for just under a quarter of value sales.
The market is also predicted to grow even further by 2012, to £814m.
Mintel’s research, which looked at ice cream sales in the five major European markets (France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK), revealed that Germans are the biggest ice cream lovers in Europe, spending an average of £19 ahead on the treat each year.
Germany’s nearest competitor is France at £14 a head, followed by Italy and the UK at £13 a head.
However, when it comes to flavour, it seems that consumers’ love of chocolate transcends nations and cultures. It was the most popular flavour for ice cream launches in 2009 across the five European countries. Indeed, over a third of the ice cream products launched in the UK last year were chocolate flavour.