The ice cream industry as one of the subdivisions of the food industry is often overlooked. However, it needs to be explored in detail since the target audience is, in fact, rather big. Because of the propensity toward a healthy lifestyle, the demand for ice cream may shrink. However, the specified change opens new possibilities for ice cream-producing organizations in terms of offering new flavors and type of the product. Therefore, the new brand named CrazyTasty will require a very careful marketing aimed at shedding light on the opportunities for enjoying unique experiences and eating healthy sweets.
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Although the food industry has received a lot of attention from marketers recently, the field thereof that deals with the production and selling of sweets is often overlooked (Akın & Dasnik 2015). Perhaps, the idea that children are typically the target audience of the businesses operating in the identified domain makes the analysis of confectionary production, in general, and ice cream organizations, in particular, less attractive than the assessment of other organizations (see Fig. 1). However, the identified area of food industry also enjoys huge popularity among children and adults alike, which makes it a highly profitable setting (Carvalho et al. 2015). Therefore, the creation of an ice cream brand that will stand out among the rest of ice cream brands and products, as well as its further promotion to target audiences, is bound to lead to a massive success. However, to create a sustainable brand that will survive in the environment of tough competition, one will have to consider some of the current market trends. The scope of the report includes shedding light on the current situation in the ice cream industry, identifying key trends in customers’ behaviors and influences experienced by them, and creation of a sustainable marketing strategy for a new ice cream brand, CrazyTasty.
Major Consumer Trends: Exploring the Ice Cream Market
According to a recent report, the ice cream market (ICM) has been experiencing an impressive growth over the past few years (Free from’ ice cream trends in $28 billion market 2017). It is expected that the Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of ICM will reach a stunning mark of 4.59% growth in 2020 (Global ice cream market growth 2016). The specified change in the ICM indicates that the number of customers has grown significantly, and that their loyalty levels have increased steeply over the past decade.
Therefore, because of a massive expansion into new markets, the ice cream industry has been experiencing to tendencies, which can be described the exact polar opposites, at once (Hartel, Rankin & Bradley 2017). On the one hand, there is the need to introduce the ice cream flavors that make customers’ experiences unique and, therefore, can be defined as exotic. On the other hand, ice cream companies have been expanding into new markets, thus, facing the needs to make their product appealing to local populations, which means that it needs to have the flavor of some of the common local dishes (Bitterl & Schreier 2016). Despite the fact that the identified trends imply managing entirely opposite goals, the ice cream industry has been managing the specified challenge quite successfully by positioning newly created flavors created to meet the needs of new customers in India, Mexico, and China as unique and exotic to their clientele in the rest of the world (Sherman 2017).
Consumer Behavior Explanation: Why People Choose Specific Ice cream
Nevertheless, there has been a significant shift in customers’ attitude toward ice cream and, therefore, in the choices that they make when purchasing the product. The recent concern for healthy food and the tendency to follow a healthy lifestyle can be viewed as one of the prime reasons for people purchasing ice cream to be concerned with the effects that the product has on their health (Papies et al. 2017). Therefore, the choice of healthier options can be viewed as one of the crucial trends in consumer behaviors in the ice cream industry (Ice cream – global annual review 2017).
In addition, the age range of the people that purchase ice cream seems to have changed significantly (see Fig. 2). Particularly, the target demographic has become significantly older, with people over 40 having started to show interest in purchasing ice cream (Quantity of ice cream consumed per day 2018). The identified trend points to the fact that the perception of the product has changed in the context of the contemporary society. While previously viewed as the product that was targeted primarily at children and teenagers, ice cream is currently defined as the product for people of all ages. As a result, older buyers become more open toward the idea of purchasing ice cream and experimenting with its flavors.
However, it should also be borne in mind that many people take ice cream for granted at present and view it solely as another type of sweets (Spence 2017). As a result, their choice to buy an ice cream is often mechanical and is not driven by the need to explore new tastes and have new experiences (Management Association 2018). Therefore, there is a necessity to introduce changes to the current concept of ice cream and its interpretation as a complementary element to a three-course meal. Ice cream needs to be viewed as a product that can survive in the realm of the global food industry on its own and not as an addition to a three-meal course. Herein lies the need to introduce new ice cream flavors and make the experiences of customers unique and unforgettable. As a result, people are likely to stop perceiving the product as merely another type of sweets.
The use of an appropriate distribution strategy is not to be underrated, either. For example, for regular ice-cream, it is important to create the image of a particular product as the ice cream that is affordable to anyone and that everyone can enjoy, no matter what their age or financial status is. As a result, people are likely to choose suggested ice-cream more often and prefer it over other types of ice-cream. Thus, buyers shape their decisions based on the information that is represented to them, preferring the ice-cream that has been marketed extensively to unknown brands, even though the difference in quality may be striking.
Key External and Internal Factors Determining the Consumer Behavior
The alteration in people’s attitude toward traditional milk- and fats-based ice cream can be considered one of the best examples of how media shapes buyers’ attitudes toward products. Although ice cream that is high on fats and calories has been in existence for decades in the global market and has been enjoyed by a vast number of people, the recent concern for health and the focus on it in media have contributed to a change in the attitude toward the product. As a result, traditional sugar- and cream-based ice cream is currently viewed as rather unhealthy and, therefore, considered an undesirable choice to make (Levinson & Horowitz 2016). Instead, the tendency toward using the ice cream types that are low in calories, such as fruit-flavored ice, has become rather evident in the global market over the past decade (Hooker 2017).
The introduction of the ideas of multiculturalism can also be regarded as one of the essential factors that have affected a change in people’s buying behaviors in the ice cream industry. With a steep rise in diversity and the creation of a wider range of options for experiencing new products and tastes, traditional ice cream flavors have worn out their welcome. Instead, people are willing to try new flavors (Rinella 2017). Therefore, diversity and the emphasis on intercultural communication should be viewed as some of the most important external factors that have been shaping customers’ behaviors in the ice cream market.
Furthermore, product-specific factors such as ingredients and the data that is represented on the package can be viewed as important determinants in people’s attitude toward ice cream. Surprisingly enough, color also serves as an important factor in determining people’s willingness to buy ice cream. Although there is a customer segment that prefers being original in their choices and is likely to pay closer attention to unusual colors such as purple and black, most people view traditional colors, e.g., white, beige, chocolate, almond, etc., as safe and, therefore, defining their choice. Furthermore, a color is typically associated with a set of specific qualities such as taste, smell, and flavor (e.g., an orange ice cream is likely to represent an orange flavor, have a combination of sweet and sour taste, and have the flavor of an orange). The specified characteristic of buyers’ choices can be interpreted as an important factor in creating new flavors of ice cream. Indeed, by choosing the color that is typically associated with a certain flavor, one creates a definitive characteristic of their product. Thus, by adding a unique flavor that is strikingly different from the expected one (e.g., introducing a mango flavor into white ice cream) may be interpreted as laziness, at best, and deceit, at worst, by target audiences.
The issue of calories and fat also remains one of the top priorities for buyers when choosing a specific kind office cream. With obesity currently being a massive global concern leading to the development of diabetes and affecting approximately 1.9 billion adults, people have become very careful in their dieting choices (World Health Organization 2018; Product focus: ice cream trends 2017) (see Fig. 3). Essential information about calories and the components of the product must be represented on the package. Thus, customers will be able to choose from the available options, customizing the product to meet their unique demands. Therefore, ice cream has to be marketed as the product that will meet the demands of any buyers and that will remain tasty even in case it contains the smallest amount of fats and calories possible.
Finally, price remains an important determinant of buyers’ choices. At this point, however, it would be wrong to assume that expensive ice cream is overlooked, and cheaper options are usually preferred. Instead, the price of ice cream points to the type of an experience that one is likely to have. For instance, extraordinarily high pricing points to the ice that one is likely to have a luxury and exotic experience that will most likely include tasting a range of expensive and unique products (e.g., the Golden Opulence Sundae offers an opportunity to taste literal gold in an ice cream sundae (NZ Herald 2015)). Lower prices, in turn, will serve as a marker of moderate quality and rather mediocre experience (e.g., caramel chocolate ice cream at Baskin Robbins). In the identified context, the term “mediocre” is not equal to “barely satisfactory’ but, instead, can be interpreted as “mundane.” Therefore, prices perform a very distinct function in shaping people’s attitude toward ice cream. Low prices point to the fact that the suggested type of ice cream is rather common, whereas higher pricing options imply the presence of an unusual ingredient, a specific texture, a unique flavor, etc. Therefore, prices define the choices made by buyers to a considerable extent.
Finally, the effects that the use of social media for promoting ice-cream need to be mentioned as some of the crucial factors that define people’s attitude toward an ice-cream brand. The identified approach will help determine changes in customers’ demands, as well as identify the levels of their satisfaction with the product. As a result, the slightest drops in their satisfaction levels will be determined successfully, and the feedback received from customers via social networks will help immediately pinpoint the source of the problem and the means of resolving it. Thus, company’s ability to use social media appropriately defines customers’ interest in a product and their enthusiasm about buying it. Thus, media must be viewed as an essential step toward succeeding in the identified market. Furthermore, the active collection of feedback will align with the company’s values and philosophy, which revolve around the idea of keeping all stakeholders satisfied.
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Differences between Consumer and Industrial Buying Behavior
One must admit that there is a significant correlation between the buying behaviors shown by consumers and organizations. Seeing that companies purchase the products that individual buyers are most likely to deem as their choice as well, the demand among consumers affects the purchasing behavior of organizations. Therefore, with the rise in demand for healthy ice cream, the industrial buying behavior seems to have shifted to the identified model of purchasing ice cream (Non-dairy ice cream market size 2017).
In addition, there has been a strong tendency for industries to introduce the elements of multiculturalism and diversity into their buying behaviors. Particularly, the need for ice cream that people of different cultural backgrounds will enjoy can be defined as one of the main tendencies in the contemporary industrial buying behavior (Young, Park & Haenlein 2013). The propensity toward a healthy lifestyle and, therefore, the introduction of ice cream that will have a positive effect on buyers’ health can also be considered an important characteristic of both the behaviors of independent customers and those of industrial buyers (Dowlati, Aghbashlo & Soufiyan 2017).
One might argue that the concept of healthy eating is in a striking contrast to the very nature of the product. Indeed, traditionally viewed as sweets and typically containing a significant amount of sugar and fats (particularly, cream and fat milk), ice cream is as far on the opposite side of healthy food as it can possibly be (Cakmakci et al. 2015). However, with the introduction of innovative technologies and the reconsideration of the very concept of the products, ice cream producing companies have started creating the recipes that could be regarded as a healthy alternative to traditional ice cream (Allata, Valero & Benhadja 2017). For example, the product that falls under the category of ice cream in the contemporary market yet labels itself as ice cream yoghurt can be defined as a healthy alternative to the rest of the options (Topcu 2015).
The focus on the production of new flavors of ice cream is, in turn, the unique characteristic of the behaviors of companies within the industry. The identified tendency can be explained by the recent expansion of the ice cream industry into a vast range of markets including Indian, Mexican, and Chinese ones (Non-dairy ice cream market size 2017). While previously restricted to certain countries, the product has recently become available to an array of new target audiences (Syed & Shah 2016). Because of the difference in tastes, the necessity to produce new flavors that would meet the demands of new customers has emerged (Chen, Tsai & Chiu 2015). For instance, the introduction of the ice cream industry to the Indian market has resulted in the creation of kesar badam ice cream, which has a distinct taste of saffron and almonds, i.e., traditional components of kesar badam milk (Young, Park & Haenlein 2013). Therefore, a general propensity toward creating the products that offer a unique experience can be observed (Non-dairy ice cream market size 2017).
Marketing Strategy: Turning CrazyTasty into a Household Name
CrazyTasty is the ice cream that is represented by a range of unique flavors, including the opportunities for creating the combinations that have not been featured in the industry of ice cream before (e.g., carrot, apple, and peach). The brand includes options for all possible diets, including low-, medium-, and high-fats dieting.
When considering the benefits of the identified marketing approach, one will have to admit that being honest with buyers is the primary advantage thereof. It is crucial to ensure that customers are fully aware of the effects that the company’s product will have on their health. Thus, crucial data about the ingredients, the date of production, etc., will have to be offered to customers. It could be argued that, by providing buyers with a range of data with which they are unlikely to be familiar, one may distract them from the product and, thus, complicate the process of purchasing it. As a result, there is a threat that customers may switch to the brand that they deem as easier to understand and, therefore, more attractive. To address the specified issue, one will have to consider providing only crucial information (i.e., the amount of fats, carbohydrates, proteins, etc.), as well as add the list of ingredients. The specified data will have to be represented in the format that will make the implications of eating the specified food clear to buyers.
For this reason, the active use of the communication tools that will allow the organization to keep in touch with its customers. Particularly, the use of social media and especially social networks will have to be viewed as a mandatory step toward building a dialogue with customers (Agnihotri et al. 2016). Therefore, establishing a connection with not only retail outlets that sell cheap and medium-priced food but also the organizations of a higher profile should be viewed as a possibility. For example, the ice cream may appear on the menus of specific restaurants, etc. Thus, the idea of the product representing a universally original experience will be conveyed to the target population.
The promotion campaign, in turn, will have to place a very powerful emphasis on the unique experiences that the product has to offer, as well as the customized approach that the organization uses to meet the requirements and demands of any customer. Consequently, it will be crucial to brand the product as highly customized one, i.e., the ice cream that can meet the needs of any customer. Moreover, emphasizing the fact that options that can be regarded as highly healthy and containing the minimum amount of fats (e.g., frozen fruit ice cream, ice cream with no sugar for people with diabetes (i.e., ice cream with fructose and no artificial sweeteners)) will have to be mentioned clearly in the promotion campaign (Global ice cream market – growth, trends, and forecasts (2018 – 2023) 2018). Thus, it is expected that the product will become massively popular and instantly recognizable as a brand.
Creating an ice-cream brand that will appeal to target customers requires a proper understanding of the factors such as trends in dieting, media influence, need for new experiences, cultural specifics, etc. Therefore, an ice-cream brand that is expected to become the focus of people’s attention is bound to use an efficient marketing strategy and provide a unique, healthy, and culture-rich experience for its target buyers. As a result, a massive rise in customer loyalty and retention levels is expected.
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