Keeping Ice Cool This Summer

Keeping Ice Cool This Summer

SUMMER sun means ice cream which, if the weather forecasters have got it right, means we’ll be ploughing through plenty more tubs in the weeks to come.

Other desserts come and go, but ice cream has remained a must-have through the decades, scoffed by kids and sipped by pensioners alike.

But despite being a feature in just about every freezer, ice cream isn’t content to simply melt in the glow of its own perma-popularity. Instead it’s coolly staging a revolution, with a wave of innovation sweeping over this section of the frozen aisle in recent times.

It’s hard to imagine the days when ‘neapolitan’ was the height of ice cream excitement. Nowadays you can get every flavour under the sun, with vegan, high protein, lower calorie and free-from ices all available to dip your spoon in.

The fun has also gone back into our favourite dessert. Where once you got the choice of vanilla, chocolate, strawberry or – to push the boat out – mint choc chip, now you can get anything you fancy. Sweetshop Ice Cream? Yes please. Or how about Jude’s Gin & Tonic flavour? Our very own Product of the Year victor, Asda’s Make Your Own Ice Cream, which proved a winner with the public.

Unilever, which makes mouth-melting must-haves including Magnum, Ben & Jerry’s, Carte D’Or, Cornetto and Wall’s, is still the biggest ice cream maker in the world, but smaller brands are also milking the market. The provenance of a pot of the sweet stuff matters more than with many other products, with luxury, high-end ices putting on the most sales in recent years.

There are challenges facing the market, not least the soaring price of vanilla which now costs more than silver. But that’s being offset by rising sales. Scottish ice cream maker Mackie’s has reported sales up more than a quarter compared with this time last year, with the company drawing a direct link between the warm weather and its shining sales.

Last summer was one of the wettest on record (the 11th wettest across the UK if we’re counting), yet still sales of ice cream rose. If the current warm spell continues, imagine what a bumper year this could be for the brands that keep their cool.