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    PG Web Extra: What’s Next for Ice Cream?

    Greek yogurt, sorbetto shaking up the frozen dessert category

    By Jim Dudlicek, EnsembleIQ

    Disruption is occurring across every category in the grocery store, and ice cream is no exception.

    From format to flavors to what’s happening behind the scenes, plenty is changing in the frozen dessert world.

    “Health-and-wellness brands are outpacing total category growth by delivering on consumer need states,” says Drew Harrington, co-founder of Quincy, Mass.-based Yasso Frozen Greek Yogurt. “Consumers are going to continue to demand products that are great-tasting and offer an enjoyable eating experience with unique flavors and fun inclusions, while meeting their nutritional objectives for them and their families. The next big thing for retailers will be the continuous expansion of better-for-you offerings that are contributing significant growth to the category with their velocities and new buyers.”

    Kevin Riveroll, VP of sales and marketing at Boston-based Ciao Bella, said his company’s line of non-GMO sorbettos, which offer the same texture and mouth feel as fresh fruit, aims to shake things up in grocers' freezer.

    “While they have been around for quite some time now, we are optimistic that the sorbetto category can really shine specifically, as consumers are looking for better options, even in desserts,” Riveroll notes. “The way we see it, we’re offering the delight of treating yourself to something delicious with less dessert guilt.”

    Digital initiatives are going to make the different in the category, according to Steve Pratt, VP of category and shopper development at Nestlé Dreyer’s Ice Cream, in Oakland, Calif.

    “Grocers need to keep their finger on the pulse of emerging mobile and digital platforms, which are key drivers in how consumers shop,” Pratt says. “Retailers that keep pace with trends like curbside pickup and delivery of custom content will be best equipped for success in the frozen dessert category.”

    Meanwhile, Unilever believes in the promotion of sustainable standards that help protect the environment and promote the well-being of workers, their families and their communities, observes Nick Soukas, director of ice cream for the Englewood Cliffs, N.J.-based company.

    “Unilever is at the forefront of this effort,” Soukas declares. “In fact, by 2020, Unilever will source 100 percent of its agricultural raw materials sustainably.”

    For example, Unilever’s Breyers brand uses only 100 percent sustainably farmed vanilla beans that are Rainforest Alliance Certified; all Unilever vanilla beans will be Rainforest Certified by 2018.

    By Jim Dudlicek, EnsembleIQ
    • About Jim Dudlicek As editor-in-chief of Progressive Grocer, Jim Dudlicek oversees daily operations of the magazine, spearheads its signature features, produces PG’s monthly Trend Alert newsletter on center store issues, moderates its regular webcast series, and writes and comments about a wide range of grocery issues. A food industry journalist since 2002, Jim came to PG in June 2010 after covering the dairy industry for 7½ years, during which time he served as chief editor of Dairy Field and Dairy Foods magazines. A graduate of Marquette University, Jim is fascinated by how truly progressive grocers inspire consumers to enjoy food, transforming the industry from mere merchants into educators that can take the most basic of all necessities and turn it into something profound and life-enhancing.

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