Are Americans Splitting Up With Ice Cream?

By: Anneken Tappe · March 22, 2024 · Reading Time: 2 minutes

Ice cream is out. Yes, you read that right. Americans are eating less ice cream, and companies are feeling it.

Consumer goods giant Unilever (UL) recently announced plans to get out of the ice cream business, with plans to sell or spin off its Ben & Jerry’s, Magnum, and Klondike brands.

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Unilever’s decision was partly due to slowing sales, exacerbated by higher prices affecting people’s buying choices.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates Americans ate a little more than 20 pounds of ice cream per capita in 2021 — down almost six pounds since 2000. While inflation is a recent addition for Americans to change their buying behavior related to ice cream and other foods, there are several other reasons.

Increased focus on health and fitness may have been leading consumers away from dessert options that are often high in fat and sugar. Dairy-free diets are also gaining popularity, in part due to increasing demand for healthier products, as well as environmental and animal welfare concerns.

Unilever also said that recent heat waves didn’t help ice cream sales, with too high temperatures instead spurring sales of refreshing drinks that can’t melt in the heat.

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