In a country like Brazil known for its high temperatures and its tropical fruits, the ice cream market is poised to continue growing, as internal consumption is still considered low compared to other more developed countries. In this article, we will take a look at the ice cream market in Brazil.
After a ship from Boston arrived in Rio de Janeiro back in 1834 with 200 tons of ice blocks meant for making ice cream, ice cream started to insert itself into the Brazilian market. After a slow start, as it was originally only intended for the wealthy, ice cream soon became a product for all social classes to enjoy. The Brazilian market offers a larger variety of flavors, including some made from typical Brazilian fruits like cajá or açaí. ABIS, the Brazilian Ice Cream Industries’ Association, implemented a National Ice Cream Day which is celebrated on the 23rd of September of each year.
The production of ice cream in Brazil has grown at an astounding rate of 106,8% over the past 10 years. In 2003 the production of ice cream amounted to 519,2 million litres, while in 2013 it amounted to little more than 1 billion litres. According to numbers released by ABIS, the ice cream market in Brazil had a total revenue of BRL 4 billion in 2013. The production in Brazil is divided into three different kinds of ice cream:
- Soft ice cream, accounting for more than 10% of the total production, with 115 million litres
- Popsicles, responsible for more than 22% of the total production, with 241 million litres
- Ice cream in tubs, responsible for 68% of the total, with 718 million litres
The growth presented by the Brazilian ice cream market is due almost exclusively to its internal market, since exports of ice cream from Brazil in 2013 did not even amount to 100.000 litres. On a similar thought, imported ice cream does not play an important part in the market. In 2013, only 2,4 million litres of ice cream were imported to Brazil, representing only 0,22% of internal ice cream consumption. The most well-known foreign brands of ice cream in Brazil are the Korean - Melona popsicles, the Argentine - Freddo and the American BrandsHäagen-Dazs and Ben and Jerry’s.
A growth of 112% in ice cream consumption in Brazil was seen in Brazil between 2003 and 2013: in 2003 506,1 million litres were consumed and in 2013 more than 1 billion litres of ice cream were consumed. This increase in consumption is also reflected in per capita consumption: on average every Brazilian consumed 2,9 litres of ice cream in 2003 and in 2013 the average amount consumed was 5,4 litres.
This number is evidence that the ice cream market in Brazil still has room to grow, mimicking more developed countries where the per capita consumption is higher, like the United States where 22 litres are consumed per year, Canada at 18 litres per year, Switzerland at 15 litres per year and New Zealand, the leading country in ice cream per capita consumption, with over 26 litres of ice cream being consumed every year.
Peculiarities in the ice cream market in Brazil
Despite the growth in production led by the increase in internal and per capita consumption, there are still some cultural problems hindering any further expansion in the Brazilian ice cream market: ice cream is still a product regarded as best consumed when temperatures are high. Because of this, when the temperatures fall, ice cream consumption tends to fall around 10%, a number that tends to fall even further whenever it rains. Bearing this in mind, a new trend is rising in order to overcome this seasonality: the rise of premium ice creams.
With over 8.000 producers of handcrafted or premium ice cream, of which 90% of them are small businesses, this sector is beginning to grow in the market, especially with popsicles. Bacio di Latte, for example, is one of the pioneers of this trend in Brazil, possessing nine stores in São Paulo and two others in Rio de Janeiro. Another main player in the premium ice cream market is Puro Gusto who are trying to overcome this seasonality by introducing more creamy flavors and other special blends, which are observed as being preferred over fruit flavours when it is cold.
Another cultural problem hindering the growth in consumption of ice cream by Brazilians is that ice cream is still more related to a product intended to ease the sensation of heat than to food or dessert. With this in mind another trend poised to make a leap into the premium ice cream niche are the “Paletas”. The Los Paleteros chain chose to create flavours that refer more to desserts in order to stimulate consumption. Amongst their most renowned flavours are Lemon Pie, Chocolate Truffle and the traditional Brazilian dessert Romeu e Julieta, which is a blend of guava jam and cream cheese. The chain was established in Camboriú in 2012 and already has more than 33 franchised stores. Los Paleteros’ most famous ice cream is a strawberry popsicle filled with condensed milk.
Main players of the Brazilian ice cream market
The main players in the Brazilian ice cream market are:
- Kibon, a brand owned by Unilever, responsible for 19,4% of the Brazilian ice cream market’s sales
- Nestlé, responsible for 8,8% of the Brazilian ice cream market’s sales
- Jundiá, responsible for 4,3% of the Brazilian ice cream market’s sales
Some well-known Brazilian premium ice cream brands are:
- Mil Frutas
- Frutos do Brasil