Progressive Grocer

FEB 2017

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74 | Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What's Next | February 2017 G ood things come in small packages. You can have your cake and eat it, too. Pick a food-related adage — or its op- posite — and you can find a correlat- ing trend in the frozen dessert aisle. For one thing, there are more mini frozen desserts available to satisfy shoppers' craving for a satisfying but not over-the-top indulgence. e TGI Fridays Frozen Des- serts brand, distributed under license by Bar- rington, Ill.-based Cap- tivated Foods LLC, has added flavors to its retail line of Frozen Flings Bon Bons, including Death by Chocolate, S'Mores, Strawberry Shortcake, Birthday Cake and Mexi- can Hot Chocolate. Other mini desserts from the TGI Fridays brand include varieties of Cake Pops, Cake Bites, Whoopie Pies and Parfait Shooters. Unilever, in Englewood Cliffs, N.J., added a slew of ice cream products in 2016, among them Breyers Chocolate Snack Cups and Good Humor Double Chocolate Chip Cookie Sandwiches. Chicago-based Conagra Brands' Marie Callender's brand includes new single-serve Banana Cream pies, in a move aimed at meeting consumers' desire to fuse indulgence and moderation. "Outside of key holidays, consumers look for variety," explains Kevin Busby, brand manager. "is includes seasonally relevant offerings and specials, nostalgic flavors, and minis. ey also look for desserts to be more than just for special occa- sions or an after-meal indulgence." As for having your cake and eating it, too, frozen desserts have followed the examples of other frozen foods by adding more better-for- you options and cleaner labels. One case in point is the Edwards dessert brand, from Marshall, Minn.-based Schwan Food Co. "In 2016, the Edwards desserts brand team began reno- vating its offerings to reflect the company's broader ingredient-simplicity commitments," notes Stacey Fowler Meittunen, SVP of product innovation and development. "As a result, partially hydrogenated oils and artificial certified food dyes were removed. e company followed that up with a removal of high- fructose corn syrup and artificial flavors from all Edwards products in early 2017. With these changes, the brand has one of the cleanest labels in the frozen desserts category." Other frozen desserts straddle the lines between indulgence and wellness, nutrition and wholesome ingredients. Bofanna Bars, in St. Paul, Minn., has rolled out frozen fruit-and-cream bars made with fresh fruit, cream and probiotics. In keeping with trending high-protein diets, Los Angeles-based Halo Top Creamery recently expanded its line of high-protein, low-calorie ice cream to include 10 more flavors. Sales data show something of a mixed bag when it comes to fro- zen desserts. According to Chicago-based market researcher IRI, sales of frozen sweet goods, excluding cheesecake, rose 4.38 percent from De- cember 2015 to December 2016, to reach nearly $231 million. Frozen cheesecake sales lost ground by IRI's findings, declining 9.02 per- cent to $127.2 million in that same time frame. On the other hand, ice cream and sherbet sales rang up more than $6.1 billion for the 52 weeks ending Dec. 25, 2016, a 4.9 percent leap from the year-ago period, while frozen novelties jumped 2.1 percent to top $4.1 billion, according to IRI. For its part, Chicago-based SPINS found that frozen dessert sales within the natural, organic and specialty market increased 2.8 percent from 2015 to 2016. PG Desserts Something for Everyone Frozen desserts deliver what consumers want from sweet treats. By Lynn Petrak "Consumers look for variety. They also look for desserts to be more than just for special occasions or an after-meal indulgence." —Kevin Busby, Conagra Brands

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