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The rise of the frozen-yogurt segment has been a well-reported trend over the last two years, with many new concepts shopping the healthy dessert. But as spring rolls in and frozen desserts grow in demand, a new study shows that ice cream is still the most popular frozen dessert of all.
According to Technomic’s Market Intelligence Report: Ice Cream, 52 percent of consumers say they eat vanilla ice cream at least once a month, and 46 percent say the same of chocolate ice cream.
Meanwhile, only 29 percent of consumers say they eat “traditional/soft-serve frozen yogurt” at least once a month, and 10 percent eat “Korean-style tart frozen yogurt” at least monthly.
Mary Chapman, director of product innovation at Technomic, says frozen yogurt is not conquering frozen dessert sales like it is headlines.
“It’s certainly not taking the industry by storm, although there are plenty of concepts where in areas it seems like there is one on every corner,” Chapman says. “Nationwide, it’s really a very small portion of the frozen desserts that people eat.”
Still, Technomic’s study found that of the top 10 fastest growing frozen dessert chains, all but one were frozen yogurt concepts.
And Chapman says the frozen yogurt segment probably hasn’t peaked yet. It’s found most of its popularity in health-minded locations like Southern California and New York City, but fro-yo might still catch on in other parts of the nation, she says.
While the healthy glow of frozen yogurt has indeed driven its popularity, Chapman says the healthiness of frozen desserts does not seem to be a major factor driving consumer purchase decisions.
“What I see more of, or having a more interesting impact, anyway, is portion size,” she says. “A small portion of something, even if it’s kind of decadent, seems to be a way that people are watching their calorie and fat intake. They can still have that delicious scoop of chocolaty gelato or whatever they like, but if they have a small portion it’s not like they’re having this big decadent dessert.”
By Sam Oches