Australia has one of the world's highest spends per capita on ice-cream, particularly among the large 35-54 year old baby boomer consumer segment. These hard-working, affluent consumers are demanding high quality, tasty ice-cream, to reward them after a long day. However, they are demanding these tasty treats without the negative health implications that ice-cream normally brings.
Datamonitor's ConsumerGraphics database shows that Australia spends more on ice-cream per capita than most other countries. Australians spent an average of US$52.7 per person on ice-cream in 2004. This compares with average expenditure in the UK and US of only US$30.1 and US$31.0 respectively. The Australian market for ice-cream was worth over US$1 billion in 2004, having grown by 3.9% on average per year since 1999.
In Australia, the 35-54 year old baby boomers age group formed 28.9% of consumers in 2003, yet accounted for 34.2% of all ice-cream sales. 35-54 year olds are busy people, with increasing working hours and stressful working lives. The demand for ice-cream by this segment represents a need for a tasty, indulgent treat as a reward after a long and busy day. This demand for indulgence is manifested by a rise in the number of 'upscale' ice-cream product launches. The Productscan Online database of new products shows that upscale ice-cream launches represented 18.6% of all ice-cream launches in Australia in the last five years.
Moreover, 35-54 year olds are starting to become aware of the effects of aging, and are a very health-conscious group. Demand for low-fat ice-cream products by this consumer group is therefore strong, as consumers increasingly expect to reconcile the often conflicting demands for healthy, yet tasty food. This kind of guilt-free indulgence has been provided by a number of producers in Australia. Low-fat ice-creams formed 30.0% of all Australian ice-cream product launches in the last five years, while Wendy's Chocollo ice-cream provided the first antioxidant-enriched ice-cream in 2004, appealing to adults as a tasty, good-for-you treat for both themselves and their children.
However, many consumers remain wary of low-fat ice-creams, concerned that the loss of fat means loss of flavor. While food manufacturers have worked to overcome these taste issues, if ice-cream sales are to continue to grow within the booming 35-54 year old age-group, this perception needs to be addressed.