In a surprising new twist, frozen yogurt has been freezing out ice cream in sales, according to new research from Mintel.

While ice cream remains the largest segment of the ice cream and frozen novelties market, the frozen yogurt segment is gaining popularity among U.S consumers. Researchers contribute this to the growing acceptance of frozen yogurt as a snack, and a perception of a higher health profile that coincides with increased attention placed on “better-for-you” products.

For the 2011-2013 period, frozen yogurt saw a whopping 74-percent sales increase, compared to the 3.9-percent increase seen in ice cream sales. However, ice cream still remains the most popular segment in the sector, with 89 percent of U.S. households consuming it.

*Other findings regarding ice cream and frozen novelty consumption include:

  • A majority of consumers, 73 percent, believe ice cream and frozen novelties can fit into a healthy lifestyle.
  • Nearly half of consumers, 47 percent, agree that low-sugar/low-fat ice cream and frozen treats are as satisfying as regular varieties.
  • More than half of consumers, 53 percent, say they try to limit their intake of ice cream because they are afraid they will eat too much of it.
  • More than half of all ice cream and frozen novelty consumers, 56 percent, enjoy their treat after a meal as a dessert.
  • Younger Americans aged 18 to 24 are more likely to eat ice cream and frozen novelties whenever they want — 57 percent compared to 44 percent of all age groups. They are also more likely to indulge in frozen treats as a snack in between meals — 30 percent vs. 22 percent of all age groups.
  • Consumers from single-person households are more likely than larger households to eat frozen treats whenever they want — 52 percent vs. 44 percent.

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*Findings based on Mintel Market Research for period 2011-2013