Food Snark

An ice cream war is brewing

August 14, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

The United States has a $12 billion annual ice cream sales market.  Half of it comes in pints and half-gallons.  One of the more recent trends in the ice cream business is known as frozen novelties and accounts for over 21 percent of the market share.  They are European-style single servings on sticks or in cones.

The U.S. ice cream market is dominated by the world’s largest food company, Nestlé, based in Switzerland.  Its brands include Häagen-Dazs, Dreyer’s and many others.  The Unilever brand includes Breyers, Klondike, Ben & Jerry’s, Cornetto and others.  The London and Rotterdam based Unilever’s worldwide market share is about 20 percent of the $85 billion industry according to Bloomberg Businessweek.

Unilever is trying to catch up to Nestlé by capitalizing on its success of single-serve that includes chocolate-coated Magnum bars.  Introduced in 1989, these bars are sold in more than 50 countries, more popular in European countries and arrived in the U.S. more recently.  Surprising everyone, 100 million worth over $100 million Magnum bars have been sold in the U.S.  Wal-Mart Stores carry six flavors and Sam’s Club too carries the brand.  Unilever is in a war with Nestlé’s Skinny Cow, a bestselling similar product in the U.S.