It’s hardly rocket science. If the sun shines, we eat ice cream. The hotter it gets, the more we eat. Ice cream enjoyed a 10% year on year uplift last June, thanks to an early heatwave. Trouble is, after the sun came the rain. An unseasonably cool August undid much of the growth the market had enjoyed earlier in the summer.

As we’ll reveal in the forthcoming Focus On: Ice Cream, the full year failed to live up to the early promise of June. It’s not all bad; value sales are up, mostly down to growth in more premium formats such as luxury tubs, but volumes barely grew at all. And Kantar Worldpanel says the number of occasions in which Brits treated themselves to ice cream actually fell, by 2.3%.

But ice cream needn’t be so reliant on the sun shining. Ireland, Finland and Sweden have the highest per capita consumption of ice cream in Europe, according to Unilever, and these countries are hardly known for their balmy summers. So manufacturers are taking a leaf out of the book of their counterparts in these countries and developing products more suited to year round consumption.

Magnum’s growth suggests Unilever has had some success in encouraging us to indulge ourselves when the sun isn’t shining with products such as Baileys and After Dinner Magnum Minis. R&R has carved out a nice little niche in Easter ice cream with its Creme Egg licensed range. And for winter there’s Carte D’Or ice cream log and Wall’s Gingerbread Sandwich.

It might sound more like an intimate ointment, but now Valentine’s Day has its own ice cream too. Last month saw the launch of Vice Cream – an ‘intense female Viagra ice cream’ made with Ecuadorian chocolate, whipping cream and Lady Prelox (a dietary supplement marketed as a female pleasure enhancer) – into selected stockists.

Just how much products developed for specific events can grow the overall market remains to be seen, however. And I’d wager the PR generated by Vice Cream’s launch was more valuable to brand owner The Licktators than sales at the tills. All that aside, there remains a more practical barrier to the UK market’s sustained growth: a lack of freezer space in the supermarkets.

The UK has the third least freezer space in Europe, according to Unilever. Ireland has the most. And with UK freezer space being squeezed, the development of new products will only go some of the way to increasing the amount of ice cream Brits eat. Addressing the lack of freezer space British supermarkets will be crucial. Click here to see how this could be achieved.