GLOBAL – Research done by the National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Association in a bid to shed light on the latest trends and habits of consumers in the US, indicates that parents indulge more in ice cream consumption as compared to child-free adults.

The research which was carried out ahead of National Ice-cream Month, found that around 77% of adults thought ice cream to be part of a balanced diet with the fruit-based varieties in particular considered a healthier option by younger consumers.

According to the survey, the current and millennial generation of consumers said they felt less guilty when eating a fruit-based ice cream compared to a chocolate one. Younger consumers were also more attracted to better-for-you options.

In addition, NFRA showed that labels continue to play an important part in consumer decision-making with almost half of respondents stating they ‘always’ looked at labels to decide what works best for them.

Among the respondents with children, the trade body recorded a significant level of interest and consumption when it comes to ice cream.

However, the survey results proved that more than 43% of current-generation adults would hide ice cream from their kids to limit consumption, compared to just 21% among parents.

Meanwhile, despite the increased demand for dairy products, such as ice creams, consumers have portrayed speciality in preferences with various conscious aspects such as taste, healthy nutrition, and functional wellness benefits, in mind.

According to Louis Armstrong, founder, and CEO of Boise, Idaho-based Killer Creamery, a US-based Ice-cream processor, most of the available dairy products provided have over a long period portrayed a shortage in terms of nutrition, referencing an ice-cream product that he usually bought after his work out sessions.

Mintel Market Research firm indicated that in this environment, the biggest opportunity for innovation in the dairy market is to formulate products for consumers who purchase both dairy and dairy-alternative products.

Dairy companies have therefore created a better-for-you (BFY) platform to integrate healthy dairy products addressing the many varied consumer concerns from nutritional claims to “free from” or reduced levels of ingredients like sodium or fat.

With the plant-based ice cream in mind, the senior marketing manager of Olam Food Ingredients, Christine Usmen noted that as the market expands with a range of flavours and formats, innovation in the space will need to better recreate the taste, texture, and mouthfeel of animal-based counterparts to entice consumers into the category.

The global plant-based ice cream market was estimated to be worth US$1.6bn in 2022 and expected to grow to US$4.3bn by 2023 with a 10% CAGR from 2023 to 2033, spurred by the adoption from younger generations, according to Futire Markert Insights research.

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