the Ice and Sorbet Market


1.1 Market definition and presentation

Ice cream is a food obtained by freezing and shaking certain ingredients. It is not easy to temporally attribute the origin of ice cream, the product as we know it today was probably born in 600. In fact, one of the oldest mentions of ice cream dates back to the royal table of Charles II of England (1671). Although it is difficult to estimate the birth of ice cream, the Italian heritage of the product is recognized worldwide. The term ice cream refers to a particular method of production and mixing of certain ingredients, so there are a variety of types of ice cream. A first distinction refers to the basis used for the production of the final product:

- White base (e.g. milk, cream, butter)

- Water base

A second distinction refers to the final result of production:

- Industrial ice cream (also known as "packaged")

- Artisan ice cream

Ice creams and sorbets can be eaten at home after a supermarket purchase, directly from a glacier or inside a restaurant. In terms of volume, home consumption is dominated by individual specialities (cones, sticks, etc.) and by sorbets and ice cream in pots (especially fruity pots), the rest being seasonal collective specialities (Christmas logs, etc.). It is the ice cream segment that has the greatest impact on cold food and beverages sales during the summer period and ice cream consumption varies considerably throughout the year and from one year to the next, depending on the weather conditions.

The ice cream industry owns a multitude of companies in France, the players in the sector being mainly small companies with less than 10 employees. However, a few large global groups dominate the market, including Anglo-Dutch Unilever and the Swiss Nestlé or the American General Mills and Mars. On the distributor side, the mass-market retailers dominate, concentrating the vast majority of sales.

However, it is essential for companies in the sector to develop innovative strategies. Innovation, main growth driver for the actors, can take several forms: fragrance renewal, new formats or new concepts. Another opportunity on the market is the development of organic products which is difficult for industrial players and necessarily has an impact on prices.


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