Skinny Cow has shown how it is done - the better-for-you, low-fat arena is certain to be a major engine of growth in the coming year. And now frozen yoghurt is getting in on the act

Skinny Cow has come a long way since its national launch a year ago. Positioned by manufacturer Richmond Foods as a healthy lifestyle brand that delivers taste and low-fat indulgence, it has proven a big hit with health-conscious consumers.
Way ahead of the competition, Skinny Cow is the number one healthy ice cream brand with a 23.1% share of the healthy market versus WeightWatchers' 9.2% share [ACNielsen 12 w/e to October 1, 2005].
As a sector, healthy ice cream is performing well, says Richmond Foods, which is confident the better-for-you category has lots more to offer. "As healthy is an underdeveloped area in ice cream compared with other grocery sectors, we would expect to see this trend continue," says marketing manager Clare McIntosh.
Richmond Foods is also working hard to keep the sales momentum going for the brand. Skinny Cow Raspberry and Strawberry Swirl Pots arrive in freezers this month, joining the chocolate and toffee varieties. In addition, the range has also this year been extended by the launch of Skinny Cow mini cups in three flavours complete with spoons in lids for the impulse sector.
On top of this, the company is supporting Skinny Cow with a £2.5m marketing campaign. The ice creams will be on TV screens for the first time this summer. The push will support new and existing products through television advertising, consumer magazine support and extensive sampling.
Building on the growing popularity of smoothies in the UK, Fredericks Diaries has hit the market with Del Monte Smoothies, which contain fewer than 100 calories, are virtually fat-free and contain real fruit to appeal to more health conscious consumers.
Two varieties - mango and raspberry - have been produced in packs of three, targeting ice lolly as well as ice cream consumers.
Also on the health trail, Ben & Jerry's launched a range of frozen yoghurts in October last year. "With trends in healthier eating on the increase, it felt high time to introduce our 'less body, more soul' dessert option to UK fans," says brand manager Antonia Kaul.
The newcomer, which is available in two flavours, contains less than 3% fat and mimics trends prevalent in the United States a few years ago, says Kaul.
"Arguably, this is a trend that America experienced ten years ago and, while it may not have solved battles of the bulge Stateside, it did inform and create more consumer choice in this area."
Although not specifically aimed at slimmers, the new Starburst Lemon & Lime is also a low fat product at 3.5%, a fact Masterfoods is eager to point out. "We understand that some consumers seek a lower-fat option when choosing their ice cream, hence we have made this clear on the packaging," says trade relations manager Andrea Taylor.

Miki Handzar
trading managerMusgrave budgens londisLast year was a good one for ice cream given the weather. Take-home ice cream continues to perform strongly in our stores, with premium ranges leading the growth. Some signs of activities leading to category devaluation are emerging but the industry's response is yet to become clear. I believe that we are going to see more growth in the premium end of the category and that there will be greater focus on fruit-based ice cream as well.Meanwhile, we are already seeing a range of confectionery-branded ice cream being rolled out on offer.David Lunnchill & freeze trading controller Nisa-Today'sThe overall value of the market is static with the main drivers in the multipacks sector, where filled cones have grown well. This is, in part, due to the continued success of Wall's Cornetto packs, which had a mint variety added in 2005. A caramel option is available this summer.Cadbury cones are also very strong now, commanding a strong brand share in cones since the launch of three new flavours.The biggest surprise is the decline in value sales of luxury ice cream and ice cream desserts, such as the likes of Häagen-Dazs and Viennetta. Louise Dunford Category Buyer for ice cream and frozen desserts, Somerfield The ice cream market is relatively static year-on-year with slight growth in the take home market and decline in impulse. The market is being driven by investment in price and promotions by manufacturers and retailers. There is also a shift towards brand and away from own label in the market and within Somerfield.Over the coming season, the profile of ice cream will be raised by significant above-the-line advertising spend from Richmond Foods and Wall's. The focus will be on building on the success of credible brands already out rather than launches.