The dairy dessert market has always been a competitive one. Still, recent changes in consumer preferences, tastes, and more have made it even more difficult for today’s gelato shops and producers.
From chain-based wholesale gelato in shops to independent creameries and dessert stores, many challenges must be overcome to provide a high-quality product right for today’s market conditions. In this article, we’ll explore just a few of the biggest challenges that face this unique industry.
Challenges Faced by Gelato Shops
1. Health-Conscious Consumers And The Rise Of Low-Calorie Ice Cream
Today’s consumers are more health-conscious than ever, and this can be seen by the growing consumer preference for low-calorie ice creams and dairy treats. Halo Top, which specializes in low-calorie, high-protein ice cream, has experienced incredible success in today’s market.
Just how meteoric is the rise of low-calorie ice cream? Halo Top, which has the largest market share of this product, has experienced a 20,000% growth rate over the last 3 years, and now has a larger market share than Ben & Jerry’s, despite being started in 2015.
Gelato is traditionally a low-fat product, but it still has a high sugar and low protein content. It’s not possible to change this without fundamentally changing what is, and is not, gelato.
The answer to this challenge may simply be positing gelato as a luxurious, indulgent alternative to ice creams like Halo Top, something that is meant to be savored and enjoyed, despite being high-calorie.
2. Multiple Artisanal Frozen Dessert Shops Competing For Market Share
Another problem is that there are many different types of dessert shops competing for market shares, such as soft-serve chains, smoothie shops, chain-based ice cream parlors, local ice cream shops, and even newer, more trendy shops like bubble tea stores.
There are many different chains and types of dessert stores fighting for market share in any given market, and it can be hard for gelato shops to outcompete other, more well-established companies.
3. Differentiating Gelato From Other Dairy Desserts (Frozen Yogurt, Ice Cream)
In part, the previous challenge is difficult because gelato is often hard for American consumers to understand. It’s much less popular than frozen yogurt and ice cream, and because the difference between gelato and ice cream is so subtle, many folks may prefer to eat ice cream because it’s more familiar.
Free samples and other marketing strategies could hold the answer to this problem, to some extent. The more customers know about gelato, and how it’s distinct from ice cream, the more likely they are to choose a gelato store, rather than a competing frozen dairy dessert parlor.
4. Changing Consumer Tastes And Preferences For More Complex Flavors
This is one challenge where gelato makers have a significant opportunity, and if they take advantage of it, the gelato industry could stand to benefit by quite a bit.
In years past, desserts have been an area traditionally dominated by only a few flavors, sweetness and fruity or chocolatey flavors have been favorites for most Americans. But today, with the rise of artisanal foods and more complex flavor profiles, more people than ever are looking for more robust, complex flavors in their desserts.
Today, it’s not uncommon to walk into an artisanal ice cream parlor and be confronted with flavors that incorporate unique ingredients like hot peppers, bitter and complex flavors like green tea and matcha, or even wine and spirits.
Modern customers don’t expect to indulge in a simple, sweet dessert, chock-full of sugar, nuts, chocolates, and fruit. They are looking for a unique flavor experience, and due to the dense and unique mouthfeel of gelato, manufacturers of this Italian dessert are in a unique position, where they can take advantage of these changing consumer tastes.
Be Ready For These Challenges, And Overcome Them!
Though the frozen dairy dessert industry has mostly remained flat in the last several years, there is ample opportunity for gelato parlors and manufacturers, as long as they can overcome these 4 challenges. So be ready, and prepare yourself to serve today’s customers with exactly what they want!