Retailers to Advertise Ice Cream Alternatives to Consumers Wanting to Eat Healthier

BY Rachel Cagle
Featured image for “Retailers to Advertise Ice Cream Alternatives to Consumers Wanting to Eat Healthier”

"Ice cream is one of America’s most popular desserts, reports Consumer Reports. Almost 90% of people surveyed by the market research firm Mintel said they had purchased it in the previous six months. As a cool finale to a Memorial Day cookout or a special sidekick to go with apple pie, it’s hard to beat. For health-​conscious eaters, though, the high fat, sugars, and calorie counts prevent ice cream from being a regular snack, even during the dog days of summer."

"But now, companies that make the 'better for you' frozen treats that populate supermarket freezers want you to be able to dig into a pint of the creamy stuff every day without worrying about weight gain or other health consequences. With labels touting more protein, fewer calories, and less sugar, these cold treats sound downright nutritious. And consumers are scooping them up."

It's the goal of 21.5% of Ice Cream Shop Regulars to eat healthier this year, according to AudienceSCAN. However, not many may be willing to give up one of their favorite desserts. As a result, they're likely searching for better-​for-​you ice creams, even if they're more expensive, since 41.3% are willing to pay more for higher quality products and 19.6% are willing to pay more for healthy food. However, finding healthy substitutes will take some research. In the last month, 22.3% of these consumers have used a search engine to research a product they were considering and, within the last six months, 20.8% have viewed a TV commercial on YouTube.

"Lower-​calorie ice creams and frozen yogurts have been around for years, but the newer crop of treats boasts a more drastic reduction in calories, fat, and sugars. In fact, some “healthier” ice creams have about the same calorie count in a whole pint as just a half-​cup of premium ice cream."

"Prominently displaying the number of calories (some with less than 300 per pint) sends the message that you can plow through that container of ice cream in a single sitting without a serving of guilt on the side."

"But just because you can down the whole pint doesn’t mean you should. 'Eating oversized portions isn’t a healthy habit,' says Keating. 'It encourages you to override your natural hunger and fullness cues, and distorts your idea of what a reasonable serving is.'”

"In its simplest form, ice cream has just four ingredients: milk, cream, sugar, and flavoring, such as vanilla. Scott Rankin, Ph.D., a professor and chair of the department of food science at the University of Wisconsin-​Madison says, 'Now we have ice cream alternatives with a very different range of ingredients and calories, fats, and sugar content.' Ice creams can include gums, thickeners, protein concentrates, sugar substitutes, and even added fiber. Ingredients like those are meant to give low-​calorie, low-​fat products a taste and texture similar to regular ice cream. But in some cases, their presence allows manufacturers to make claims about lower calories and more protein and fiber."

"Adding processed protein and fiber to a product doesn’t provide the same health benefits that you get when they’re from whole foods. There’s no need to eat food, including desserts, pumped full of extra protein. 'Most people need 50 grams of protein a day and easily get it,' Keating says. Some of the treats in our tests had 20 grams of protein per pint or more. 'That’s roughly the same amount as in a single-​serving container of plain low-​fat Greek yogurt, and the yogurt is more nutritious.'”"At the top of Consumer Reports' ratings are a frozen yogurt and a traditional ice cream with the highest combined scores for flavor and nutrition."

'Our nutrition score factored in not just calories, sugars, fats, and other nutrients per serving [a half-​cup or two-​thirds cup] but also the number of added processed ingredients, such as isolated protein and fiber,' Keating says. Of course, none of the lighter offerings could match the rich, creamy texture of premium full-​fat ice cream. But perhaps the real surprise was that about half of the products we tested received sensory scores of Very Good.

"The nondairy desserts had two to 14 grams of saturated fat per serving; the full-​fat ice cream had four grams of saturated fat. Sugars also varied, from four grams up to 16 grams per half-​cup serving. Still, the nondairy products tested tended to lack many of the additives found in the light/​low-​fat ice creams. And they were tasty, too, with three getting Very Good sensory scores."

'If you’re vegan or have trouble digesting dairy, these are great substitutes for ice cream,' Keating says. 'Just don’t think they’re healthier for you than regular ice creams.'”

Retailers selling healthier ice cream options can promote their wares to Ice Cream Shop Regulars through digital advertisements. Last year, according to AudienceSCAN, these consumers took action after either receiving an ad via text or seeing an ad on their smartphone apps (78.7%), hearing either a digital or over-​the-​air radio ad (77.5%) and receiving email ads (74.4%). They're also 129% more likely than other adults to take action after seeing ads in a movie theater and 114% more likely to click on text link ads on websites. Traditional ads are also useful, since 82.4% took action after seeing a TV commercial and 76.5% reacted to magazine ads they saw, both in print and digitally, last year.

AudienceSCAN data is available for your applications and dashboards through the SalesFuel API. Media companies and agencies can access AudienceSCAN data through the AudienceSCAN Reports in AdMall.