The recent hot weather, not surprisingly, led to a huge demand for ice creams - but the major multiples were unable to satisfy it. What’s the excuse. Well, unlike with ambient lines, stores have little flexibility to increase the space allocated to frozen products, making supply, category management and replenishment key.

During this exceptional heat, the average multiple was 30% at risk of being out of stock for non-promoted ice creams and a chilling 40% at risk when it came to promoted lines. To put this in some perspective, this is twice as high than the usual performance we’ve recorded.

In a remarkable turn of events, Safeway delivers the best availability figures for ice creams. Its non-promoted SKUs were 16% likely to be out of stock, around half the sector average, while its availability levels for promotional products was 28%.

Morrisons must have sold hundreds of thousands of tubs and multipacks, as its ‘at risk’ figures of 29% for normal lines and 50% for promotional stock are uncharacteristically high.

Neither Asda nor Tesco will be happy with their performance. 41% of Asda’s promotional ice creams were at risk of being out of stock, while its non-promotional lines hit 33%. Tesco did slightly worse for promotional stock (44%) and slightly better on normal lines (29%). Optimists would say both retailers suffered due to consumers stocking up their freezers.

Finding your brand of ice cream in Sainsbury was a more realistic prospect, as both 26% of promotional and non-promotional lines were at risk of being out of stock.

Somerfield has found it hardest to meet this additional demand, with 47% of normal ice cream SKUs at risk of being out of stock and 54% of its promoted lines at risk too. Conspiracy theorists might say this is because the big four monopolised much of the supply, or perhaps it’s just that Somerfield’s high street stores were hit by top-up shoppers.