Production and consume

The Spanish market for ice cream depends directly on climatology and the arrival of tourists. Taking into account that during 2014 these two factors showed positive behavior, it is estimated that sales increased by around 5%, surpassing 300 million liters and approaching 1,100 million euros. In Europe, 2.172 million liters of ice cream are produced, with a turnover of more than 8,020 million euros. Spain registers the fifth European production of ice cream, behind Germany, France, Italy and the United Kingdom. The world’s largest ice cream producers are the United States, with 4,740 million liters, China (2,870 million liters) and Japan (884 million liters). Individual ice-cream accounts for 53.1% of all sales in volume and 58.5% in value. Next, the ice cream is divided, with shares of 22.3% and 22.6%, while the family pots represent the remaining 24.6% in volume and 18.9% in value. Among the individual ice creams, sticks are the most popular, with 38.7% of the total in volume and 43.9% in value, followed by cones and sandwich (52.8% and 41%). Among the ice creams to be divided, the main categories are confectionery (28.3% in volume and 65.5% in value), cakes (29.2% and 20.5% respectively) and bars (42.5% in Volume and 14% in value). Lastly, the ice cream / sorbet segment stands out in the family pots, with 96.5% in volume and 96.8% in value.

Business structure

The structure of ice cream processing and marketing companies is made up of about 25 operators, among which are subsidiaries of large multinational companies and some national specialists. The top 10 companies account for a combined share of 85% of the total market in volume and value. The seven operators that are part of the Spanish Association of Ice Cream Manufacturers control around 55% of the market. The craft ice cream association is made up of about 400 craft ice cream parlors and around a hundred ice cream shops. The most important group in the sector has sales of more than 640 million euros, while the second is 230 million euros and the third round 180 million euros. Catalonia is the autonomous community where the fourth part of the ice-cream companies of our country is located, followed by Madrid, with 18%, Comunidad Valenciana (15%) and Andalusia (9%). The impulse channel, with a large number of small points of sale, has traditionally been the most important commercial channel for the commercialization of ice cream, until in recent years organized distribution has snatched that privileged place. At present, 40% of the total ice cream sales are made in supermarkets and hypermarkets, compared to 33% in the impulse channel and 27% in bars and restaurants and catering establishments. A special segment is the one formed by around 2,000 specialized establishments for the sale of artisan ice creams, of which more than 50% is located in the Valencian Community. Catalonia, Murcia and Andalusia are located quite a distance away. The importance of organized distribution has led to some growth of white brands in the ice cream market. It is considered that these offers represent already 15% of the total sales and seem to have still an important route. The increase in consumption outside the summer months seems to be contributing to the growth of this type of offer. Innovation appears as the main strategy of the large operators of the sector to diversify their offers and consolidate presentations with greater added value.

Foreign trade

Foreign trade figures for ice cream are outdated and not very reliable, since many movements are made between different subsidiaries of the same company and are not recorded in the statistics available. The Spanish Association of Ice Cream Manufacturers estimates exports of about 37 million liters, which, in terms of value, reaches 109 million euros. Target markets are other European Union countries, where 84% of foreign trade is headed. As a matter of priority, the major clients of the Spanish markets are Italy, Portugal, France, United Kingdom, Germany and Holland. Some of the main Spanish manufacturers have internationalization strategies that go through installing production plants in emerging markets. Ice cream imports are directly related to the supply of some of the major food distribution chains and have their origin almost exclusively in other European countries. It is considered that they are imported annually for the Spanish frozen market amounting to about 170 million euros, which shows the importance of these movements. Our most important suppliers are France, Germany, Belgium, Italy and UK.

About the author

Montse Gonzalez