Gelato, a global phenomenon
There seems to be no stopping the increase in the global ice cream market. Sales of artisanal gelato are expected to grow by an annual compounded average growth rate (or CAGR) of 7.2% between 2018 and 2023 (source: Research and Markets). The demand for sugar-free and low-fat ice cream has grown steadily over the last few years, and there has been a growth in demand for fruit-flavoured ice cream in developing countries as wages have risen.
In 2017 the region that recorded the highest level by value for the craft market was North America, while the Asia Pacific area will certainly grow between now and 2023.
As for packaged ice cream, global sales should reach 89.5 billion dollars (74.8 billion euros) by 2023, with a CAGR of 4.9%. Most sales are generated in the USA, with a total of 9.108 million euros expected in 2018, followed by Brazil with 4.035 million euros, Japan with 2.992 million euros, Italy with 1.863 million euros and South Korea with 1.751 million euros (source: Statista). In Italy an annual fall-off of 1% is expected (CAGR 2018-2021).
China, meanwhile should reach total sales of 166 million euros in 2018, with a CAGR of 3.5% in 2018-2021. But the potential for growth is much higher if we consider that per capita consumption in 2018 will be just 0.03 kilos.
One possibly little-known fact is that the world’s biggest consumer of ice cream is New Zealand, where the per capita consumption is a staggering 28.4 litres of ice cream per year. One of the most popular flavours after vanilla is the highly popular hokey pokey, made of lumps of honeycomb toffee in vanilla ice cream (source: World Atlas).
Forecasts for the season in Italy are good. Quite apart from the traditional appeal of the product, we are seeing hotter weather, which boosts consumption. Latest figures from Coldiretti speak of a sharp rise of 30% in the last week in April compared with the same period last year. Italy is the EU’s biggest manufacturer of ice cream, with 595 million litres a year. It has indeed now taken over Germany, which had been the top-ranking country for 20 years but is now stuck at 515 million litres , followed by France with 454 million litres, Spain with 301 million litres and Poland with 264 million litres (Source: Coldiretti figures based on Eurostat data).
When it comes to craft ice cream, traditional flavours remain the favourites, but there is also a tendency to offer “house specialities”, aimed at different consumer targets: traditional, xenophile, naturalist, dietetic or zero food miles. To satisfy these demands, craft ice cream makers use local fruit and vegetables, but increasingly also other local quality products such as come protected designation of origin cheeses or acclaimed wines. Italians consume over 6 kilos of gelato per capita every year, purchased in the 40,000 craft kitchens up and down the country.