Every season we get inquiries and questions about what's going to be the hot trend or latest fad in the ice cream business for that summer season. It's an important question because hopping on the latest trend or new wave of products can really help you create more profit and buzz around your store, ultimately leading to higher success. If you follow us on social media or read either one of our two blogs each month, then you would know the answer to this question months before the season actually starts, allowing you to get a jump on your competition.
In case you haven't been following us and haven't heard us talking about hot trends in the frozen dessert industry the last couple of months (and years) then here are some hot trends to focus your attention on.
Vegan and organic products. Even though the popularity of traditional flavors stay the same year after year, the industry changes dramatically around them. The number one biggest trend across the globe in the ice cream industry is vegan and organic products. If you are not making your own vegan or organic frozen product and selling it in your store, then you're missing out on huge profit potentials. Nearly 6% of the population now considers themselves vegan and sales of organic foods have jumped nearly 8% every year. This means vegan and organic are more than just buzzwords, they are actual lifestyle choices people are choosing to make about their food. They're concerned about the ingredients that go into their products and concerned about the products that go into their body. You can create a market niche and increase profits significantly by creating and selling vegan and/or organic products in your store. Catering to this niche of consumers opens up all new opportunities for you, especially if you're the only store within miles where they can get fresh, homemade vegan/organic ice cream. Remember these consumers are a bit different than just the average consumer with their concern for what they eat and what products they use. Full disclosure with your ingredients will be appreciated but more than that, a little creativity in the product will go a long way. Generally, these vegan and organic customers are a bit more creative than the average consumer so if you can put some creativity into your frozen vegan dessert or add some flare to your vegan ice cream then the better. The more outside the box thinking you can deliver into your product for these consumers the better. Since these consumers are very aware of what they eat they're willing to pay the price for the ingredients that are sourced fresh, locally and fit into their lifestyle. Make sure you charge accordingly to make up for the specially sourced ingredients. No need to sell these products for the same price as your regular products as this group of consumers are willing to pay more. If you're thinking about implementing vegan/organic products into your store and are not sure where to start, then contact us, we'll be able to help you implement a plan and source ingredients for your products. Watch this video to see how to make vegan gelato with one of our ice cream batch freezers.
If you've watched our Youtube channel or any of our videos then you know we're a big proponent of milkshakes. Why? Because not only are they a huge profit maker for any store, but they're relatively cheap, quick and easy to make if you have the right milkshake machine. So it's no wonder there is a whole trend around milkshakes right now - and not just regular old milkshakes but freak shakes. What is a freak shake? A freak shake is not your typical milkshake in that it can be topped with or added to with any imaginable topping, dessert or ingredient. Freak shakes aren't about drinking a milkshake but more like eating a meal. Freak shakes can run the gamut as to what can be included but think milkshakes topped with donuts, cake, candy, waffles and or even chicken. Obviously the creation possibilities are endless as far as the ingredients, toppings and combinations that you can put together. Experimenting with a freak shake on your own allows you to have some fun with your employees while creating something custom that customers cannot get anywhere else. Since it's so unique, different and delicious, you'll be able to charge more than just the regular price. A freak shake will help you create buzz around your store and give you some marketing opportunities. People love taking photos of their food and a freak shake will be no different. They'll love posting pictures of the freak-ish shake they're about to eat. Of course, photos of the shake and sharing those photos on social media should be encouraged. After all would anyone believe you just ate that freak shake if it wasn't photographed and posted to Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat.
Flavors of Pop
Pop culture can have a huge influence on everyday products and consumer buying habits, including even ice cream. Ben and Jerry's is a great example of how a company can infuse pop culture into their products. Their line of aptly named flavors really resonate with their consumers and help them build brand loyalty. With flavor lines like The Tonight Dough, Phish Food and Cherry Garcia you would be hard pressed to find a brand that equals Ben & Jerry's in what they do. Yet, all around you can see examples of companies that make their living off of pop culture. Next time you are in the grocery store line buying your Ben & Jerry's take a look at the magazines and notice how the US Weekly, Star and People magazine all make their living off of pop culture. By infusing pop culture into your products or store you'll create buzz and a unique product that no one else is doing. But using pop culture isn't just about what's hot today, it can also be nostalgic or relate to other time periods. Sometimes what's old is new and what's new is hot. Another thing to consider is local pop culture. Get involved with your community and learn about the area so you may infuse local schools, sports teams, history or people culture into your products. Naming a product after a local pop culture icon will say a lot about your involvement within the local community which many people will support.
Though you are producing and selling product locally, think globally when it comes to your flavors and ingredients. Follow different trends in the food industry or pop culture to see what's going on in different countries. For example, Thai rolled ice cream is huge right now but people are not going to get on a plane and fly to Thailand just to get it. Hopping on a trend like this and offering it in your store or truck can mean an additional revenue stream. Thanks to the internet the world is much smaller nowadays. You can do a lot of research from your home to take advantage of different cultures ingredients and ways of doing things. You can even get different recipes through the internet for things like Japanese Mochi ice cream or learn how to infuse different ingredients from different cultures into your recipes like: Black sesame from the Philippines or Chili pepper ice cream from Brazil.