ce cream often evokes memories of big swirls
of vanilla soft-serve that melt down a classic
cone onto your ;ngers. But the frozen treat
is taking on new, healthier and more innovative forms. As new ;avors and ways to eat ice cream
abound, manufacturers and retailers have been zeroing in
on o;erings that are friendly to both the waistline and the
environment. These attributes have taken the supermarket by storm in every category imaginable, and retailers
are adapting quickly to meet shoppers’ demands for items
that meet their lifestyle and dietary needs.
Stocking a freezer full of better-for-you options, however, is not enough, says Russell Barnett, CMO of Los
Angeles-based My/Mo Mochi Ice Cream. He says variety
is also important in creating successful ice cream sections.
Creating Instagrammable Shopping Experiences
According to Barnett, millennial consumers are snacking
about four times a day—more than any other generation—
and the need for portable, well-portioned snacks is trans-
forming the ice cream aisles and beyond.
“The high demand for handheld and portion-controlled
snacks is playing a big role in rede;ning the ice cream
category—adding exciting colors and ‘Instagrammable’
shopping and eating is key for a successful retail program,”
he says. It also takes balancing the “familiar and not-so-fa-miliar,” Barnett says, as well as showcasing products that
tap into “both the desire for classic, fun ;avors and the
millennial demand for accessibility and experience.”
More Than Just ‘Natural’
In addition to portability, millennials have also brought
the cruelty-free and environmentally friendly mission to
center stage, which retailers have taken careful note of.
For example, Lakewood, Colo.-based Natural Grocers
o;ers only pasture-based dairy products, meaning all animals involved are outside on a pasture eating grass and
exhibiting natural behaviors.
Leigh Paone, category manager for Natural Grocers,
says ensuring all the retailer’s dairy products meet these
requirements helps avoid labeling confusion among
its shopper base, because the “natural” label no longer
cuts it. Instead, terms such as “pasture-based,” “
pas-ture-raised,” “antibiotic- and hormone-free,” “certi;ed
organic” and “non-GMO” are far more important.
“We’re proud of our ice cream selection and know that
our customers love it because it is produced at such a high
standard,” says Paone. Natural Grocers also created an
alternative ice cream set for the plant-based crowd, she
says, which includes cashew, coconut and other vegan
Isabella Monico, brand manager for Austin, Texas-based
GoodPop, says all food trends are pointing toward the
“popularization and normalization” of plant-based diets.
Additionally, Barnett says the plant-based ice cream market is set to grow nearly ;;; annually over the next decade.
“This can be seen across food categories, with ice
cream being no exception,” Monico says. Because of this,
grocers have been adapting ice cream displays to better
integrate dairy-free options.
“As dairy-free ice cream becomes the dessert of choice
for the everyday consumer and not just those allergic to
dairy, we’re noticing these items presented side by side
in displays, so that all alternatives are conveniently presented to the buyers,” she says.
The Power of the Promo
Monico says retailers have also been ;nding success in
promotions such as partnered couponing campaigns that
Fridge & Frozen
Retailers aren’t frigid about
stocking frozen treats that
;t shoppers’ busy, health-
By Rebekah Marcarelli
Amount the plant-based ice cream
market is predicted
to grow annually over
the next decade,
according to Russell
Barnett of My/Mo
Mochi Ice Cream.