The premium ice cream sector is a good place to be, with annual sales up 5% to £144.5m [TNS 52 w/e January 1, 2006]. Claiming a 24% share, premium is the biggest sub-sector within the £299.2m dessert ice cream market.
Wall's Carte d'Or offering had a particular good year, with sales boosted by brand extensions including a Toblerone version that was launched last year and a Terry's Chocolate Orange variant which arrived in store freezers in 2004.
Carte d'Or is not just doing well within the premium ice cream market but has also managed to maintain its top position as the bestselling brand within the total take-home ice cream market.
Anuj Lal, Wall's business director, says: "Carte d'Or has shown significant growth over the past few years and is helping to bring new consumers to the ice cream dessert category. In the past year alone it grew by 6% - a figure we expect to see repeated this year." To help achieve this, the brand will be supported by a £6.5m marketing push this year.
New for 2006 is Carte d'Or Greek Yoghurt & Honey. Terry's Chocolate Orange has been delisted to make room for the new variant.
The new flavour is designed to bring new consumers to the category but also to ensure that it remains fresh, according to marketing manager Di Houldsworth. She says that while the company does develop new products, they are more recipe-based than novelty.
"Our new flavours are always traditionally based," she says. "It is not about launching novelty stuff with a one-year life."
More is expected from Carte d'Or later in the year, according to Houldsworth, who says that a number of SKUs will swell the portfolio above its current nine lines.
But while it has been a good year for the premium sector, the story is quite different when it comes to the £50m luxury ice cream market, which includes brands such as Green & Black's, Ben & Jerry's and Häagen-Dazs. Overall sub-sector sales fell 9.4%, [TNS] predominantly because the premium sector successfully poached consumers.
According to ACNielsen, while Ben & Jerry's managed small growth, up 1.3% [52 w/e October 1, 2005], arch rival Häagen-Dazs experienced a drop in sales of 4.6% across its multi-portion lines.