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PESTEL Analysis - Ice cream industry

In this article, we are looking at the PESTEL analysis of the ice cream market, which will give us a better understanding of its environment. This is a strategic analysis, based on a number of criteria: political, economic and sociological, as well as technological, ecological and legal.

PESTEL Analysis - Ice cream industry

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INTRODUCTION

The ice cream market is booming, with a large number of new products hitting the shelves every year. More than 360 million litres of ice cream are produced in France alone every year, with 78% of annual sales generated in the summer. By 2023, this figure is expected to reach €1.32 billion.
The Europeans are very fond of ice cream, and many consume it on a regular basis, with over 86% of households enjoying it more than once a week during the summer season. Ice cream sales rose by 14.3% in 2023, with new products accounting for over 60% of sales. For 78% of consumers, buying local is important, and many are willing to pay more. The ice cream sector comprises around 450 companies, with a high proportion of SMEs and VSEs.

PESTEL ANALYSIS OF ICE CREAM

Political factor

The political and economic spheres are still very closely linked. Indeed, the ice cream market is part of the food sector, which is one of the most important economic sectors in Europe, but more generally throughout the world.

At a political level, regulations are fairly strict, especially when it comes to food, with health standards having to be met. Raw materials can sometimes be more expensive because of the support given to dairy farmers. Supermarkets sometimes bring in their products from other countries, so political stability remains essential.


Economical factor

The ice cream market is booming, and has grown considerably in recent years, mainly thanks to the many innovations that are appearing on a regular basis, among the biggest international brands, but also with other players, who are focusing on vegan and/or local products.

Brands are trying to offer consumers more and more innovations to boost their sales.

Companies want above all to differentiate themselves from other brands, and consumers are still rather difficult to convince.

There are more and more players on the market, so there is a real question of competitiveness that has gradually taken hold in this field.

Sociological factor

From a sociological point of view, the ice cream market is important because, as we said earlier, more and more consumers are eating it, especially during the summer season.

However, the French are also keen on ice cream all year round, with winter consumption up 15% in the space of a year. Demand for local and organic products is strong. Flavours are becoming ever more complex and sought-after, with new trends emerging that are enabling the market to increase its sales significantly.

Of course, the more classic flavours are still very much in evidence, but buyers are looking for innovation and like to be surprised, both in terms of taste and format.

Technological factor

Ice cream is part of an increasingly complex production and manufacturing process, as standards are becoming more and more stringent.

What's more, production technologies are becoming ever more sophisticated, delivering higher yields and greater compliance with food standards. Products are better preserved and more stable, and flavours can be more sought-after and modern, to meet increasingly diverse expectations.

Today's consumers are attracted to new flavours, but also to other textures and formats, and to products that are less sweet and therefore healthier.

E-commerce has also grown considerably in recent years. The many platforms that offer home delivery services, such as Uber Eats or Deliveroo, are making it possible to consume in a different way, and thus to develop a wider customer base.

Ecological factor

The environmental impact of brands of all kinds has become a major issue for all companies and all business sectors.

Consumers are also more concerned about the environment, and therefore more interested in eco-responsible products. Players in the ice cream market are well aware of this. However, it should be noted that the ice cream market is still highly seasonal, and that the weather tends to influence sales. Players are promoting products with recyclable packaging, and many more local players are gradually making their appearance.

Legal factor

As far as legislation is concerned, the ice cream market is part of the food sector and is therefore highly regulated. Hygiene and food safety are very important, and producers have to pay close attention to these standards, which can lead to higher prices.

Marketing is also regulated, with laws concerning respect for competition and customer data in the case of online sales. Brand communications must be transparent, not only from a legal point of view, but also to reassure consumers and encourage them to buy.

The transport of frozen products is also highly regulated, mainly for health reasons.

CONCLUSION

The PESTEL analysis of the ice cream market shows that the sector is very strong, with sales increasing year on year. The market is also constantly evolving, with demand not only intensifying, but also becoming more dynamic and modern. The sector is influenced by a number of factors, whether political, economic or sociological. These factors show how the market and society are evolving, and consequently the need for players to be able to adapt and develop strategies that are more in line with demand. The sector is now subject to intense competitive pressure, and there are more and more challenges to be met.

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