Dashmote’s recent Food Delivery Insight Report Europe - H1 2023 targeting the European food and beverage brands by showcasing the latest trends on food delivery. As an extension of the ‘fastest growing branded sweets’ section of the report, this article identified the key markets of three leading ice-cream brands under the Unilever umbrella - Magnum, Coretto, and Ben & Jerry's, by analysing their penetration and growth rates across Europe.

The ice-cream market in Europe is rich in product offerings. In 2021, sales of frozen processed dairy and desserts in Europe exceeded 16 billion USD [1], with Unilever being the market leader and the largest ice cream manufacturer. While Unilever’s ice creams are largely available in retails, each of its key brands has carved out their most prevalent food delivery markets across various European countries.

The top three penetrated markets of each brand in Europe

Based on Dashmote's data analysis, Ben & Jerry's exhibits the highest level of presence among three brands. This American-born brand has made a significant impact on the European ice-cream scene with its quirky flavours and commitment to social responsibility. Ben & Jerry’s is most prevalent on food delivery platforms in Spain, boasting a noteworthy penetration rate of 19.6%. This statistic underscores the fact that nearly one in every five digital storefronts on Spanish food delivery platforms offers Ben & Jerry's products. The brand's notable penetration is also observed in Ireland at 14.1% and the Netherlands at 14.0%.

Magnum, renowned for its premium quality, made its initial foray into the European market during the late 1980s. This esteemed brand has achieved substantial penetration in its top three markets: the Netherlands at 11.5%, the United Kingdom at 7.3%, and Portugal at 5.7%.

Cornetto, another addition to the European ice cream landscape, brings the essence of Italian gelato to its offerings. However, it maintains a relatively modest penetration rate among the three prominent brands in Europe, with its primary markets being Italy at 4.1%, the United Kingdom at 3.4%, and Portugal at 2.3%.

The top 3 market seeing the biggest growths for each brand

Dashmote's food delivery report highlights the remarkable expansion of two prominent sweet brands, Magnum and Cornetto: Magnum has positioned itself as one of the fastest-growing sweet brands in Belgium. Similarly, Cornetto has emerged as one of the rapidly ascending sweet brands in Greece and Romania.

Taking a closer look at Magnum's growth trajectory, it is noteworthy that the brand experienced its most substantial surge on food delivery platforms in Portugal, registering an impressive digital storefront growth rate of 48.5% over a six-month period spanning from Q3 2022 to Q2 2023. Belgium closely follows with a significant Magnum growth rate of 45.4%, while Germany showcases a commendable growth rate of 40.7%.

Cornetto, despite its relatively modest prevalence as described in the previous section, is swiftly making strides. The brand witnessed a remarkable 176.6% growth in digital storefront listings in Denmark, coupled with a noteworthy 92.7% growth in Germany. The United Kingdom also demonstrates Cornetto's robust growth, with a substantial 69.9% increase in digital storefronts.

In contrast, Ben & Jerry's, owing to its extensive digital storefront presence, experienced more measured growth among the three brands. The top three growth markets for Ben & Jerry's are Portugal, with a growth rate of +21.8%, Austria (+13.9%), and Ireland (+13.1%).

Ben & Jerry stands out as a top franchise on food delivery in Denmark

According to Dashmote's report, it's noteworthy that Ben & Jerry's has emerged as the third most prominent franchise in Denmark. In an innovative move, the brand has adopted the concept of a ghost kitchen—an operational setup dedicated to preparing dishes exclusively for delivery. Unilever, the multinational consumer goods conglomerate, is actively expanding its virtual ice cream shop presence. To accomplish this, Unilever has entered into multiple partnerships, with the aim of proliferating its Ice Cream Shop concept across a broader array of locations.

The rationale behind this strategic move stems from logistical challenges faced by Ben & Jerry's in storing its products at local brick-and-mortar stores. In response, the global brand has adopted a ghost kitchen model, leveraging cold cabinets to ensure that its ice cream products are delivered punctually and in pristine condition through platforms like Deliveroo and Uber Eats. Dashmote's data reveals that this innovative business model has yielded significant success within the food delivery market, with Ben & Jerry's Denmark serving as a prominent exemplar of this achievement.

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Global ice cream brands are competing in a market valued at USD 79.0 billion in 2021 which is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.2% from 2022 to 2030 [1]. To make sure consumer demand doesn’t melt away, manufacturers have been striving to increase their product range by introducing new ice cream varieties, such as natural, organic ingredients and exotic flavours. Along with product premiumization and innovations, major ice cream brands are also seeking to expand their digital footprint by teaming up with food delivery apps to promote and deliver their products. In this article, we analyse the top ice cream brands on food delivery in the UK and US.

Overview: Desserts on food delivery platforms 

Food delivery apps allow consumers to fulfil their cravings and have their favourite sweet treats delivered right to their doorstep in minutes. Nowadays, an increasing number of stores sell desserts online. Our data reveals that 45% to 50% of digital storefronts (DSFs) sell desserts on a food delivery platform in the UK. In the US, the percentage of DSFs selling desserts on three major food delivery platforms varies from 39% to 42%. 

Studies have shown that ice cream is the most popular choice of dessert when ordering online[2]. Adding ice cream to online menus can not only increase average order value but also enhance visibility on the delivery platforms. It is reasonable to predict that ice cream will become an increasingly essential player in the food delivery market.

Comparing the UK and US: Top listed ice cream brands on food delivery

Unilever is leading the market on food delivery, they own winning brands such as Ben & Jerry’s and Magnum. Ben & Jerry’s is dominating the market on food delivery platforms in both the UK and the US, followed by Haagen Dazs and Magnum. In the UK, the number of DSFs across three platforms selling Ben & Jerry’s is particularly outstanding - it is around three times more than the second-listed brand Haagen Dazs and third-listed brand Magnum. 

In the US food delivery market, the penetration rate of ice cream is much lower. Around 3% of DSFs across Doordash, Grubhub, and Uber Eats sell Ben & Jerry’s, which is approximately 30% more than Haagen Dazs, and around three times more than Magnum. Uber Eats makes the largest distribution to the US market by having the most number of DSFs selling Ben & Jerry’s and Haagen Dazs.

It's no surprise that CPG giants like Unilever are expanding to digital channels and scaling up partnerships with food delivery companies to enrich brand portfolios and seek growth opportunities. However, with a high penetration rate for desserts but a low penetration rate for ice cream, brands should continue to invest in digital space in the US, as there’s still ample room for growth.

Although Unilever is dominating the ice cream markets in both the UK and the US, the penetration rate in the US is much lower than in the UK. With e-commerce channels growing rapidly there are still plenty of opportunities for ice cream brands to expand digitally and have their products reach a wider target market through food delivery online. CPG companies need to stay on top of their game, and follow trends across the market.

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Dashmote understands that need, and helps F&B enterprises by empowering leaders and analysts to track and analyse publicly available data to help you make strategic decisions for your brand. Do you want to know more about the snacks market on food delivery? Check out our chips and chocolates article. Are you interested in retrieving market insights across food delivery and F&B?
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