Alex Beckett
Global Food & Drink Analyst, Alex is responsible for tracking consumer and innovation trends in a wide range of categories including ice cream and bottled water.

Getting ice cream right in 2018 is a hard business. The “perfect ice cream” is a mythical beast expected to be moreish and indulgent, while having a permissible health halo! It has to play with texture and carry that unexpected “wow” factor that will make it go viral on social media, but it should also adopt a transparent approach to ingredient sourcing and stand up to consumers’ scrutiny.

Using Mintel’s Global New Products Database, we look at 10 recent ice cream launches that truly embrace current and future trends.

Halo Top, Cinnamon Roll Ice Cream, US

Perhaps the biggest news story in the ice cream industry in 2017, this low-calorie, added protein product became the best-selling ice cream in the US over a four week period in July 2017. It’s vegan, low in sugar, fat and calories, but it still offers a range of fun and decadent flavours.

Snow Monkey Cacao Superfood Ice Treat, US

This gluten and dairy-free ice cream is positioned as “better-for-you”. It claims to contain more fibre than four bowls of oatmeal, more protein than three eggs and more iron than a steak. It’s also described as nutritious, delicious, sustainable, vegan and paleo.

Foxy’s Rocky Road Less Travelled Ice Cream, UK

Also jumping on the health bandwagon, this ice cream combines the indulgent appeal of chocolate and marshmallow, but it is also packed with over 5 billion probiotics, tapping into the gut health buzz.

Morinaga The Crepe Chocolate & Vanilla Crepe Ice Cream, Japan

Ice cream is a rich area for innovative textures. Consumers want consumption experiences that appeal to all of the senses, not just taste and sight, and they want to feel wholly stimulated with the act of eating. This Japanese concoction comes in a chewy crepe instead of a wafer cone and features crunchy biscuits and chocolate.

Noona’s Toasted Rice Ice Cream, US

As ethnic ice creams such as Japanese mochi and Thai rolled ice cream become increasingly popular, brands have an opportunity to experiment with more international innovations. This Korean-inspired product comprises slowly-toasted premium rice steeped into fresh cream. It’s inspired by Noo-Roong, the caramelised layer of crunchy rice that forms on the bottom of a pan of cooked rice, which is a traditional Korean rice snack.

Over The Moo I Fell for Caramel Coconut Milk Ice Cream, Australia

Vegan ice cream is trying to shake off its slightly bland reputation by prioritising indulgence over health messages. This Australian brand uses indulgent language on-pack to convey a decadent appeal of its coconut-based ice cream, eg “oozing with ripples of salted caramel sauce”.

Le Sorbet Pitaya Cream Sorbet, Brazil

Flavoured with pitaya – or dragon fruit – this sorbet is sweetened with erythritol, just like Halo Top. It contains coconut oil, which provides a slower melting point, a smooth texture and a subtle coconut flavour.

Wall’s Cornetto Disc Rainbow Pop Ice Cream, Thailand

As mash-ups and the desire for sensory experiences become more popular, the good old popping candy is making a huge comeback in food innovation. This toffee flavoured ice cream is topped with a chocolate disc encrusted with multicoloured popping candy.

 

Big Gay Ice Cream, US

From a humble ice cream truck in New York to a number of popular ice cream parlours and even a cookbook, packaged pints are a natural evolution for Big Gay Ice Cream. Taking mix-ins to the next level, this vanilla ice cream with blueberries contains chunks of pie crust in a product that blurs boundaries with the wider dessert category.

 

Proud & Punch Paging Dr. Green and Berry Passionate Variety Pack Mini Pops, Australia

With just 27 kcal per stick and flavours that seem inspired by detox juices, these mini pops are free from added sugar and are made with 100% Australian fruit and vegetable. Paging Dr. Green features Granny Smith apple, Packham pear, spinach and lime, while Berry Passionate is made with Packham pear, raspberry, strawberry & passionfruit.