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With uncharacteristically warm weather giving the, already healthy, ice cream market a boost, the sector is looking at innovation to satisfy a growing nation of gelato lovers.

Scottish ice cream

Scotland's produced many fine ice cream businesses over the years. With a market ready and waiting for more innovation, how can we expand the Scottish ice cream industry and satisfy devoted frozen dessert fans? 

Sales on the up 

Overall, the ice cream category in the UK has grown by 7.2% in value sales since 2017, to reach a total of over £969 million. In the next couple of years, the sector looks likely to continue to grow steadily, to an estimated £1.3 billion in value sales by 2022. 

So, what are the key drivers for this growing market? 

Lip licking luxury

Luxury ice cream was one of the fastest growing subcategories in 2017. There’s a shift towards more premium products in the food and drink sector generally, and the ice cream market's no different.  

Ice cream connoisseurs are looking to spend their money on high-quality and authentic ingredients. This is taking the sector down unexpected flavour paths, as they chase the ice cream pound. 

Savoury options, such as avocado, salt & vinegar, beetroot, seaweed, black truffle or cheese ice cream, are just some of the ‘out there’ tastes boosting ice cream sales. 

Ice cream with a tipple 

Some customers are being enticed by more adult offerings. Following on from the success of Aldi’s cocktail popsicles, alcoholic ice creams were a surprise hit last summer.  

Flavours, from mojito, gin & tonic and Pimms, to IPA, tequila and whisky, have added to the mini-revolution the ice cream sector is experiencing. 

Snack-size bites 

Ice cream is also showing up in all shapes and sizes, with ‘snacking’ formats on the rise. Starbucks’ coffee ice cubes are one example, showing how the sector can satisfy consumers needs for on-the-go convenience. 

Californian start up, Seva Foods, has developed a vegan, freeze-dried, bite-sized ice cream, called Space Ice Kream. Inspired by snacks developed for the Apollo space mission in the 1960s, these grab-and-go chilly nibbles offer a minimally processed ice cream snack.  

With a base of cashews and coconuts, Space Ice Kream comes in two flavours, vanilla and strawberry, and thanks to the freeze-drying process, more vitamins, minerals and antioxidants are preserved in the process.

The health factor 

The ice cream sector is also slowly seeing a move towards healthier options, ranging from low-calorie, low-sugar, high-protein, to dairy-free options. 

According to Mintel research last year, a third of consumers would be encouraged to eat more ice cream if it contained less sugar and fat, and had more natural ingredients generally. So, probiotic ice cream, like frozen kefir ice cream, is another trend finding a growing market.

Growth opportunities 

Ice cream is an integral part of Scottish culture and the food and drink industry here, so now’s the time to look to innovation. If you want to understand more about ice cream trends in Scotland, our innovation connectors are here to help. 

If you’re looking for support to become more innovative, or are working on something new or different that will add value to your business, we can help you explore your ideas and develop them all the way through to market. 

For innovation support today