Ice Cream and Frozen Novelties Combine for $14.4 Billion in 2020


Ice cream and frozen novelties once again ruled the frozen dairy aisle in 2020, reaching unprecedented sales heights due to the pandemic and strong demand for comfort food by consumers. According to the AFFI/IRI report, ice cream sales were $7.9 billion—up $1 billion from 2019—with dollar growth of +15.2%. Frozen novelties sold $6.5 billion, an increase of $918 million, with dollar growth of +15.2%. The $14.4 billion in combined sales exceeds 2019’s total of $11.3 billion.

Nestlé—at or near the top of this list for several years—has been replaced by the company that purchased all of Nestlé USA’s ice cream brands, Froneri. That $4 billion transaction became official in January, 2020, and now Froneri produces ice cream and novelties for the Haagen-Dazs, Dreyer’s, Drumstick, Edy’s, Skinny Cow, and Outshine brands in the U.S. market, while General Mills still has the overseas rights to Haagen-Dazs.

We won’t know the full extent of Froneri’s ice cream revenues from the Nestlé transaction until Froneri releases their 2020 annual report, which usually comes out at the end of June. Currently, Froneri is the world’s second largest ice cream producer, after Unilever.

Significant Events in 2020

  • Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) completed the acquisition of Dean Foods’ assets for $433 million in May.
  • Dippin’ Dots opened a new manufacturing facility in Kentucky focused on expanding the cryogenic process of using liquid nitrogen to flash freeze its products into other industries.
  • Unilever rolled out 25 new ice cream flavors and novelties at the end of 2020, under the Talenti, Breyer’s, Klondike, Magnum, Viennetta, and Popsicle brands.
  • Danone North America launched a line of dairy-free frozen desserts under the So Delicious Dairy brand, with 330 calories or less per pint.
  • Ben & Jerry’s debuted four Netflix-themed ice creams, a Colin Kaepernick-themed flavor, as well as election- and social justice-themed flavors.
  • J&J Snack Foods partnered with Minute Maid for a line of frozen juice sticks.
  • Mars ice cream launched co-branded Twix and Snickers ice cream bars, shaped like their namesake candy bars.


sold $283 million in 2020, according to NFRA/Nielsen statistics.

Lead image courtesy of Pixabay. Above photo courtesy of Unsplash.