Ice Cream Trends in Latin America’s South Cone

gourmet chocolate ice cream with almonds and chocolate flakes

Consumer demand for health, indulgence and sustainability are driving ice cream trends and innovation in Brazil and South Cone countries

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KerryDigest Fast Facts:

  • Despite minor COVID-19 setbacks, the ice cream market in Latin America’s South Cone is back on a path for growth.
  • Our researchers have found three main areas of opportunity for brands in the ice cream category: indulgence, health and sustainability.
  • Products that embrace these trends will have the best shot at capturing a significant market share.

KerryDigest Full Scoop:

The ice cream market is growing in Latin America’s South Cone, which includes Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, Peru and Argentina. Despite factors such as the pandemic negatively impacting this sector in 2020 and 2021, the future is looking positive for years to come. In Brazil alone, annual consumption of ice cream already exceeds 5.3 liters per person, according to the Brazilian Association of Ice Cream Industries, and the expected growth rate for tons sold is approximately 9.1%. In 2020, the Brazil ice cream retail market value exceeds R$15 billion (approximately US$3 billion), according to Euromonitor. The data in the chart below, also from Euromonitor, highlights the opportunities that await brands in or entering this segment.


Ice cream’s versatility is part of what makes it so popular. A pint of ice cream can be shared at a family gathering and a scoop or ice cream sandwich can be purchased while on a date or a walk. But ice cream can also be manufactured to appeal to the different emotional needs of consumers. Nathalia Molon, Senior Marketing Analyst, Brands, for Kerry Brazil and South Cone, explains the top three consumer needs brands can address when crafting on-trend ice cream products in the Brazil and South Cone market.

Indulgent ice creams

To many consumers, ice cream is perceived as an indulgence and an automatic mood improver. Part of this is innate: even a basic scoop of vanilla ice cream can deliver the smooth texture and simple taste desired in comfort food. But unique and differentiated sensations can also be built into products, with inclusions such as chocolate chips, cookies, granulated chocolate and other inclusions adding extra crunch and texture while other indulgent ingredients and flavors make the experience even richer, such as hot toppings, condensed milk, caramel and coconut chips. .

Another way brands can create more indulgent consumer-preferred ice creams is through flavour. We’ve recently seen innovative ice cream products inspired by alcoholic flavors that suggest a “relax and chill” eating experience. Indulgence is also a key driver of the trend toward delicious dessert-inspired flavors of ice cream, many of which draw from popular and traditional regional taste profiles., many of which draw from popular and traditional regional taste profiles.

quote about ice cream in Latin Americachocolate ice cream

“Healthy” ice creams

The COVID-19 outbreak has led to a surge of overall interest in wellness, including through the consumption of food and ingredients that provide health benefits such as immune system support. Amongst consumers, products that support immunity and gut health are gaining in appeal and are areas of opportunity for innovation amongst food and beverage brands, including ice cream.

Health supporting flavour ingredients can also be introduced to ice cream products to increase preference. The addition of fruits such as tangerine and lemon add taste and a perception of freshness. Interest in herbs with perceived health attributes, such as ginger and turmeric, has also been growing since the beginning of the pandemic.

Smaller packages are another way ice cream brands can increase the health appeal of their products. Ice cream products that pack a lot of satisfaction into a smaller, lower calorie form give consumers the opportunity to satisfy their desire for something sweet while maintaining the appeal of a healthy indulgence.

colorful dishes of ice creamquote about Latin American ice cream trends

More sustainable ice creams

Consumers are increasingly aware of not only what they consume, but also how the production of food and beverage products affects the earth, its animals and its people. This creates an opportunity for ice cream brands to build trust and drive engagement by formulating with sustainable ingredients and through processes that are perceived as more natural and environmentally friendly.

For example, plant-based ice cream is increasing its position in the market, globally. This category represented 7% of launches in the ice cream category in 2019/20, showing a significant increase over 2015/16 launches, when plant-based ice cream accounted for just 3% of launches, according to Mintel. Various research firms suggest that the category will continue to grow at an annual rate of 10%—or more—for the coming decade. This aligns with a survey conducted by global Innova Market Trends, which found that almost 60% of consumers are interested in trying vegan ice cream.

To learn more about the Latin American ice cream market, and how Kerry’s team of food scientists and culinary experts can help you create on-trend ice cream products, contact us.

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