The tough trading situation within frozen desserts appears to be easing, with the sector seeing a rise in value and volume. A reduction in discounting, the introduction of new ranges and a move to premium lines have been the keys to the category's revived fortunes. Leading the way are hot-eating desserts, up 8% in value, followed by individual desserts, up by 6%.
Tryton Foods' Aunt Bessie's brand has been behind much of the growth in hot-eating desserts, while the Weight Watchers range from Heinz has rejuvenated the cold-eating segment, according to Mintel. Frozen pastry has also been boosted by increased interest in cooking from scratch.
Ed Culf, commercial director of General Mills UK, producer of Jus-Rol, says: "Delia Smith is ensuring a high profile for the category - this is one of the reasons that frozen is back on the agenda. Retailers need to ensure they're maximising the sales potential of this upward trend."
Jus-Rol Individual Puff Pastry Rounds and Tartlet Cases have been included as 'cheat ingredients' in Delia's book and her logo is featured on pack. The new products come in packs of six with a rrp of £1.99 for the Puff Pastry and £2.49 for the Tartlet Cases. For the first time in seven years, Jus-Rol has also returned to TV with a campaign running throughout June.
Marc Dubery, sales director for frozen and chilled at Heinz, says: "Weight Watchers is out-performing the frozen desserts category. The run-up to summer is one of three key times for the brand's sales uplift. The others are during back to school, and post-Christmas."
The company has added its Taste Temptations premium low-calorie desserts to the brand offering, having established that dieters are seeking products that taste as good as their full-fat equivalents.
The range comprises triple chocolate indulgence, chocolate raspberry fusion and Belgian chocolate éclairs, each with a rrp of £1.99.
Mintel considers much could be done to attract the impulse buyer - currently one in 12 consumers adds a frozen dessert to their weekly shopping list, indicating missed opportunities. Frozen desserts, the company says, are most likely to be bought as a treat, although family celebrations and entertaining are prime purchasing motivators.
Purchasing as a standby has been increasing, particularly among the ABs, 55-64-year-old demographic and those with children aged 10-15. However, one in six consumers still tends to buy frozen desserts when on special offer, highlighting a dilemma facing a market that is trying to shake off an over-reliance on heavy discounting.