Impulse ice cream has always been weather dependent, but clever retailers can use all sorts of merchandising tricks to ensure sales from ice cream chillers remain hot all year round. Asian Trader reports.

Impulse ice cream is a category that offers significant potential for increased sales.

Research from Mintel show that impulse ice cream is a crucial category for retailers to boost their till roll, as convenience shoppers purchasing ice cream tend to spend more on average than those who do not.

Although ice cream is often con-sidered to be a summer product, Mintel figures show that it actually sells well all year around but, in order to capitalise on this, retailers should ensure they are stocking the correct products and a well balanced range to meet demand.

With summer not far off, retailers should aim to meet the demands of consumers searching for a treat as well as something refreshing by stocking a wide range of impulse ice creams e.g Kids’ Lollies, Chocolate Snacks and Cones.

Ranges should also cater for specific shoppers. For example, stores that are on the route home from school should ensure that they are always stocked up with children’s favourites.

Market

Last year the ice cream market for independent retailers had an an-nual sales value of more than £25m, demonstrating the nation’s ongoing love affair with ice cream.

Within the ice cream category wrapped handheld remains the most popular choice and now accounts for more than 80% of total value ice cream sales in the independent channel (Mintel).

Leading manufacturers say that to get the most out of the impulse fixture this year, retailers should adopt a seasonal approach, with a well stocked range of everyday refreshment during the summer months and more indulgence formats during autumn and winter months.

At the same time, retailers should be prepared to act quickly to capitalise on hot weather peaks at unseasonal times during the year.

For example, at times last year, Britain basked in warm tempera-tures that far surpassed countries on the continent.

Therefore, it could pay dividends for retailers to keep an eye on daily weather forecasts and adjust their impulse ice cream fixtures accord-ingly.

Big brands

Unilever, the UK’s number one ice cream manufacturer (Nielsen), is set to create huge growth potential for retailers and drive significant value into the Ice Cream category in 2016 through a substantial invest-ment in its salesforce and increased freezer distribution, as well as an innovative range of new products.

Since March 2016, Unilever has been significantly increasing its field salesforce in a bid to reach five times as many retailers with expert advice, guidance and support.

Further reaffirming the com-pany’s continued commitment to the category, Unilever has pledged to place more freezers into the trade this year, helping retailers take full advantage of the sales potential Ice Cream has to offer.

Unilever is also launching a range of new products to spear-head growth in the £938 million Ice Cream category (Nielsen) through its market-leading brands Twister, Feast, Cornetto and Magnum.

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