Although it is too easy to blame plummeting sales of ice cream on the bad British weather, one area where the excuse rings true is in water ices, which rely on temperatures of 70F-plus, according to Icefresh Foods.
Simon Spence, managing director, says: "When it comes to ice lollies, the weather is a big sales factor.
"Water ice represents a high-risk listing with lower returns for retailers.
"There is a move to entice adults by lowering sugars and adding fruit juice, but these initiatives have less appeal than chocolate-coated or fruit sorbet type stick items."
Big brand names including Calippo and Fab have been feeling the pinch in recent years as lollies prove less interesting to traditional young consumers, and are down 3% and 3.7% in value respectively in the latest year [ACNielsen, 52 w/e October 1, 2005]. However, it is not all bad news. Clare McIntosh, marketing manager at Richmond Foods, says that some of its new product development efforts have been effective.
The company's recent launches include Mr Men lollies, which were the third fastest-selling lolly last summer, she says. "This demonstrates that the market is in fact motivated by new product development."
Wall's is also upping its activity this year to appeal to children of all ages.
Calippo has been given its first dual flavour - in a strawberry & tropical variant - and the company has also created a SpongeBob SquarePants orange & cola ice lolly and a strawberry & lemon Ice Jet novelty lolly, which comes with a stick that doubles as a mischievous water shooter once the lolly has been eaten.
An interesting entrant to the market last year was Jubbly, which manufacturer Calypso relaunched in the wake of the growing popularity of retro sweets such as Fizz Bombs and Orange Chewits.
The iconic 1950s and 1960s ice lolly, which is said to have been the origin of that famous Only Fools and Horses catchphrase through its 'Luvvly Jubbly' campaign, has had a health makeover.
The Jubbly Ice Lolly now contains real fruit juice and mineral water.