Frozen desserts among the shining lights in grocery dessert sector

Posted by James Ferre on 9th June 2009

Once the poor relation of the more glamorous chilled dessert, latest research from Mintel finds frozen desserts are witnessing something of a revival in the UK.

After years of stagnant growth, sales of frozen desserts increased a steady 4% in 2008, as Brits returned once again to the freezer cabinet for their sweet treats. What is more, sales of these frozen products are set to increase a further 5% in the next year alone.

Meanwhile, things are looking a little less sweet in the chiller cabinet. While chilled desserts continue to account for the bulk (70%) of sector sales, as many as a third (34%) of Britain’s cash strapped consumers admit to having cut down on chilled desserts for financial reasons. What is more, some 16% of all Brits have switched from buying chilled desserts to the frozen variety in an effort to reduce their grocery shopping bill. Today, over a third (36%) of consumers see frozen foods as being just as good as fresh foods.

“There is no doubt that sales of frozen desserts have benefitted from consumers looking for cheaper desserts during the recession,” Emmanuelle Bouvier, Senior Consumer Analyst, said. “A tighter household budget together with the fact that Brits are increasingly appreciating the quality of frozen food has led consumers to look for value for money choices that have a longer shelf life. Undoubtedly, the market for frozen desserts has also benefited from Brits seeking comfort foods in troubled times.”

Within the frozen desserts sector, hot-eating desserts and gateaux are the preferred options, accounting for 40% of all sales. Meanwhile, frozen pastry is one of the most buoyant choices, and is an ideal shortcut in the kitchen for consumers who opt for making desserts from scratch.

But it is not just the frozen market that is fairing well in these challenging times. In line with our love of all things retro, ambient desserts such as jellies and canned rice pudding are experiencing a comeback. After several years of sluggish growth, the market for these desserts grew by around 7% in 2008, and is set to grow a further 6% by the end of 2009.

The bulk of sales (just under 50%) in the ambient desserts sector are generated by ready to eat pots, with the convenience of these appealing to those looking for quick and easy dessert solutions. Overall, the total market for take-home desserts grew by around 15% in the last 5 years to reach £1.6 billion in 2009. Sales are set to increase a further 10% in the next 5 years.

“With consumers staying at home more and replacing restaurant dining with meals at home, take-home desserts are likely to be included on more occasions,” Ms Bouvier concluded.