Frozen desserts are typically less expensive than those stocked in the chiller cabinet, although the difference is hard to quantify due to the different ranges and value lines on offer.
According to Mintel, British consumers are changing their dessert-eating habits in the recession to cut back grocery spend. In its new report called Desserts UK 2009, it says that 16 per cent of Brits admit to having switched from chilled to frozen desserts recently, and 35 per cent consider frozen desserts to be just as good.
In 2008 sales of frozen desserts increased by 4 per cent – and another 5 per cent growth is expected in the next 12 months. This is a remarkable take off, since the product category has been marked by stagnation in the last few years.
“There is no doubt that sales of frozen desserts have benefitted from consumers looking for cheap desserts during the recession,” said Emmanuelle Bouvier, senior consumer analyst. “A tighter household budget together with the fact that Brits are increasingly appreciating the quality of frozen food has led consumers to look to the frozen variety in an effort to reduce their grocery shopping bill.”
The chilled dessert category does still remain on top, accounting for 70 per cent of sector sales overall.
Nonetheless, the revival of frozen puds is in keeping with observations about frozen foods in general in these cash-strapped times. In April a survey conducted by Insight Track for the Food and Drink Federation’s Frozen Foods Group found that 49 per cent of people “believe that frozen food will help them through the credit crunch”. Moreover, 75 per cent said frozen food “is better than it used to be”, and 73 per cent recognised a range of premium products.
Another trend Mintel has noticed in the dessert category is a revival of old-fashioned desserts, of the kind today’s adults used to eat in their childhood.
In late 2008 Bird’s Eye reintroduced its iconic Arctic Roll. Jelly and rice pudding are amongst the ambient products seeing a comeback. Indeed the ambient dessert category saw 7 per cent growth in 2008 and 6 per cent more is projected for this year.
Such nostalgic products may deliver a spoonful of comfort and reassurance to consumers in the turbulent and uncertain economy, Mintel suggests.
Nor is Mintel alone in identifying the comeback of nostalgic foods. In December 2007 Datamonitor noted that nostalgic foods are competing with exoticism are driving trends in the food sector.
It saw the nostalgic urge as prevalent amongst senior consumers, "who are seeking to recreate 'the good old days' as a result of the rise of me-centric individualism".