According to Wall’s Ice Cream, 60% of value sales of ice cream in forecourts come from chocolate snacks compared to 50% in other impulse channels. It seems whether it’s white van man or Mr Mondeo the sales rep, they like their choccie even in the summer, when it has to be delivered in frozen form. That means you should be stocked up with Magnums and Mars ice creams.

"Magnum double caramel massively over-performs in forecourts," explains Mel Rolfe, senior category manager ice cream (impulse) at Unilever, brand owner of Wall’s.

"For forecourts we recommend they stock 10 chocolate snacks, three cones, three kids’ products and one or two adult refreshment lines."

The big news from Magnum for 2010 is the launch of Magnum Gold, described as the "first gold ice cream on a stick".

Magnum Gold comprises Madagascan vanilla ice cream with a caramel swirl, covered in a gold coloured milk chocolate. Recommended retail price is £1.50.

Chrissie Farman, Magnum senior brand manager, says: "New product development (NPD) is essential for the growth of the ice cream category as it keeps consumers coming back to the freezer aisle. NPD saw the brand grow by 10% in 2009."

The launch will be supported by a £3m marketing campaign including TV advertising featuring a Hollywood A-lister.

Another big brand from Wall’s is Cornetto, which this year gets a premium sub-range called Cornetto Enigma.

There are two varieties: vanilla & chocolate and vanilla & raspberry. The chocolate one has Madagascan vanilla ice cream with an almond and chocolate sauce centre which runs from top to tip. The raspberry one has a dark chocolate and raspberry sauce centre. Recommended retail price for a single cone is £1.20.

Naomi Geffen, Wall’s brand manager at Unilever, believes Enigma will add value to the £33.4m Cornetto range (IRI data) by encouraging consumers to trade up. The launch will benefit from a £2.9m marketing support package, including TV, cinema and digital advertising.

She says: "Cornetto innovation was a large contributor to the growth of the cones market in 2009, adding £2.7m to the category (IRI data). This was achieved by encouraging current ice cream consumers to add Cornetto to their repertoire as well as enticing new shoppers to the category. Cornetto Enigma aims to build on this success and brings further excitement and differentiation to the market, while adding value by encouraging consumers to trade up."

Another cone that’s proving a big success is Frederick’s Dairies Cadbury Flake 99. "It’s the number one selling cone in impulse," says David Taylor, deputy managing director at the company.

"Sales were up 30% for the 52 weeks to October 3, 2009 (Nielsen Eat Now Ice Cream report). That’s because we had better distribution and made significant gains in the impulse sector. It’s the highest growing SKU in the top 20 products in the impulse market by value and it’s a must for every freezer as it appeals to all demographics."

He adds that Cadbury Crunchie Blast is now a must-stock for many stores too. "It’s the fastest growing stick in impulse. Sales grew by 43% last year in the 26 weeks to October 3."

Frederick’s makes the Cadbury ices under licence; it also has the licence to make Del Monte smoothies. And, new for this year, it is launching Vimto squeezy pop-up. Taylor says the trade has responded really well to the launch.

Meanwhile, Mars is once again focusing on its "fewer, bigger, better" strategy which the company says proved a huge success last year.

Mars trade relations manager, Bep Sandhu, says the strong campaigns around the company’s top confectionery brands "will provide UK retailers and consumers with seamless communication across their favourite chocolate and ice cream products".

She continues: "We invested heavily in our key brands last year and it paid off proving that the halo effect of our chocolate activity on Mars ice cream brands is dramatic. Mars accounts for 56% of ice cream bar sales (IRI).

"For 2010, we’ll be keeping it simple focusing on our core range of nine products under six household brands Mars, Maltesers, Snickers, Galaxy, Bounty and Starburst."

Snickers, in particular, performed well last year growing, according to IRI data, four times faster than the market. "This was a direct result of the Mr T campaign for the chocolate brand, coupled with improvements in distribution of the ice cream product," explains Sandhu.

New for 2010 and designed to appeal to Galaxy’s core consumers (women aged 24-45), is Galaxy Triple Chocolate. This impulse product comprises chocolate ice cream with swirls of chocolate sauce, all coated with Galaxy.

Sticking with chocolate-inspired ices R&R Ice Cream, the authorised distributor of Nestlé ice creams, is launching Aero Double the Bubble.

The stick product combines both mint and chocolate ice creams with aerated pieces of bubbly chocolate inside. The foil-wrapped ice cream retails at £1.25.

And following the great success of the relaunched Mivvi ice cream in the take home sector last year, R&R will be launching Mivvi Divinely Creamy into the impulse category this year. The product was relaunched with 20% real fruit and real clotted cream. Rrp is £1.25.

Charlotte Hambling, senior marketing manager at R&R, says: "This year sees Aero, one of Nestlé’s biggest and most popular confectionery brands, launching into the ice cream category for the first time."

Meanwhile, she says the launch of Kit Kat cone exclusively in to the impulse market in 2009 was a huge success: "It became the seventh best-selling individual ice cream very quickly within its first season."

She adds that Thornton’s indulgent chocolate sticks also continue to perform well in impulse as consumers trade up to enjoy the Belgian chocolate, real dairy ice cream and special Thornton’s inclusions.

All year round

Unilever’s Rolfe reckons that forecourts should sell ice cream all year round. "Eating ice cream is not just about the weather, it’s about occasions too. Consumers have an indulgent nine o’clock moment on the couch when they want a Magnum Mini or some Ben & Jerry’s so it’s not all about the weather. Forecourts can maximise sales on occasions it does not have to be really hot outside for them to sell ice cream."

R&R’s Hambling adds: "Ice cream sales across the winter are understandably lower than during the summer months. However, the ever-increasing popularity of take-home ice cream, the recession and the ’big night in’ phenomenon this spurred, have kept winter sales buoyant."

According to Nielsen figures, the total take-home market in the 12 weeks ending January 23, 2010 was up 3%, a growth spurt largely driven by sales of super premium tubs. "It’s important for retailers to make the most of their winter ice cream offerings by stocking a selection of tubs, treats and desserts that appeal to all the family," says Hambling.

Premium lines like the aforementioned Ben & Jerry’s and Haagen-Dazs do sell well all year round as they are often consumed as a dessert so forecourt stores with space should definitely consider stocking them.

For 2010 two new chocolate variants will join the Häagen-Dazs line up: choc choc chip and chocolate, pralines & caramel. These, together with existing Belgian chocolate, will be supported by a £1m campaign including television advertising.

According to Ed Culf, marketing director at Haagen-Dazs brand owner General Mills, chocolate is the biggest flavour segment within luxury ice cream. "It is driving category growth and has experienced 19.5% year-on-year growth," he says.

Of course, the Haagen-Dazs range is not limited to chocolate flavours. Also available is Häagen-Dazs Ice Cream Smoothie and there’s a new flavour for 2010 strawberry & banana.

Meanwhile, Ben & Jerry’s has announced plans to turn its range fully fairtrade by 2011 in the UK. Globally, the fairtrade conversion will be complete by 2013. The roll out began last month and is supported by a £4m marketing package. Rob Michalak, Ben & Jerry’s global social mission director, explains: "Ben & Jerry’s launched the first fairtrade ice cream in 2005. Since then, we’ve added one new fairtrade flavour to the range every year.

"Our global 100% fairtrade commitment means that all ingredients that can be fairtrade certified will be, across 58 flavours and 121 different chunks and swirls.

"The fairtrade mark on Ben & Jerry’s tubs guarantees that more than 24,000 farmers will receive a fair, stable minimum wage for their work, as well as a social premium, better working conditions and stringent environmental standards."

The brand will absorb the price of going fairtrade rather than passing it on to retailers and consumers. Michalak continues: "Fairtrade is a fair deal all round. It’s fair to the producers of the ingredients, fair to our loyal flavour fans and fair to retailers, whose sales will be boosted by this move, with its supporting TV campaign."

However, if you’re looking for more mass-market appeal then Carte D’Or is what you need. For 2010 there are three new flavours: rum & raisin, raspberry cheesecake and coconut. The launch is supported by a £3m marketing campaign including a dedicated TV ad for the rum & raisin flavour.

Nikki French, brand manager for Carte D’Or, says; "As we’re continuing to see growth in family meal occasions, Carte D’Or is well placed to meet the needs of consumers looking for a continental dessert experience from a trusted brand."

"The success of our ’Flavour of the Year’ strategy means we’re well positioned to add incremental value to the category with these classic, well-loved flavours.

"We know the new additions will be a hit with our current consumers, but they will also attract new shoppers looking for authentic flavours with a bit more adventure."

In addition to the new lines, the core Carte D’Or range (including vanilla the number one SKU in the dessert ice cream category) will continue to be supported with activity including TV and press.

Top 10 impulse lines

1. Magnum Classic

2. Magnum White

3. Twister

4.Cornetto strawberry

5. Calippo orange

6. Feast chocolate

7. Mars Xtra vanilla caramel

8. Solero exotic

9. Cadbury Flake 99

10. Magnum Double Caramel

Source: IRI total impulse MAT Oct 31, 2009

Don’t forget the kids

Although children might not make up a huge percentage of your customer base, they should not be forgotten. During the summer, when families are out and about, ice creams are a great way to keep the kids sweet.

Wall’s Twister and Calippo Orange are must-stocks as they are number three and number five respectively in the top 20 selling impulse ice creams. New to the Wall’s 2010 line-up is Milk Time Squeezy. This is a push-up Calippo-style product and each one contains 30% of a child’s recommended daily allowance of calcium.

Jonathan Summerley, purchasing director at the Hancocks’ confectionery cash and carry chain, reckons old-fashioned ice poles present a significant profit opportunity during the summer months. "While supermarkets sell multipacks of these products, the independent can pick up the impulse and pocket money trade by selling them as ready-frozen singles. We sell a number of ice poles, including brand leader, Mr Freeze, at a competitive price of £4.99 (80 x 20p rrp)."

frozen frenzy

When yummy mummies Sarah Smith and Zoe Meredith could not find healthy ice lollies to appeal to street-wise youngsters, they decided to make their own. The result is Real Fruit Frenzy from the Yummy Lollies company. These are 100% real fruit ice lollies in funky squeeze-up tubes. Designed to appeal to adults and children, the not-from-concentrate ices contain no additives or preservatives, no added sugar and no added water. They are available in three flavours: apple & raspberry, blackcurrant and orange.

For added kid-appeal Real Fruit Frenzy unlike similar products on the market has a cool, smooth texture making it a truly refreshing eat.

Smith explains: "We took a lot of time to develop Real Fruit Frenzy because we wanted to get it just right. We wanted to offer kids (and adults) a really healthy fruit ice but also one that tasted great."

Real Fruit Frenzy is available from distributors nationwide. Recommended retail price is around £1.

Ice cream tips

l Identify your strongest sellers from last year

l Ice cream is one of most innovative categories so stock new products

l Always keep your freezer clean, neat and tidy

l If your freezer has a light make sure it works

l Make sure any pos material on display is kept up to date

l Keep stocked up if you have a back-up freezer use it

Source: Frederick’s Dairies