Sales of private label frozen desserts have grown steadily over the last couple of decades, according to “Ice Cream and Frozen Desserts in the U.S., 9th Edition,” a study produced by Packaged Facts, Rockville, Md. In fact, store brand/private label products account for nearly 20% of all frozen dessert sales, with packaged and novelties combined, and as much as half the sales in the sherbet/sorbet/water ice category, the study says.

The starting point was the explosion in quality among branded frozen desserts marked by a burst of activity in the premium category. Private label frozen desserts, which accounted for a lot of the low-end activity, were being squeezed out of the market.

Also becoming a factor in private label sales increases for frozen desserts was the expansion of upscale, specialty and natural food retail chains such as Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s, which actively promote their store brands as top quality offerings.

Looking ahead, there are good reasons to believe that private label frozen desserts will continue to gain market share, the study says. Retailers are expanding their offerings with more organic and natural products as well as jumping on the clean label bandwagon with products positioned for their absence of artificial ingredients.

Meanwhile, 66% of consumers reported that their last-eaten cake was at or from home (scratch, made from a mix or purchased from a grocery/retail outlet), says MenuTrends Keynote on Desserts, produced by Datassential, Chicago. From red velvet to pumpkin, croissant hybrids to savory sweets, consumers are eating desserts both at home and in restaurants.

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