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FRG frozen food consumers 'hot on ice' and warming to natural, full-value fare.

FRG Frozen Food Consumers `Hot on Ice' And Warming to Natural, Full-Value Fare

Ice cream consumption rising, as brands sell 464 million liters. Meanwhile, wholesome food conquers industrial catering. FF manufacturers position themselves for alternative trend.

Make no mistake about it, West Germans are getting more and more heiss auf eis these days. That is to say, they are "hot" about ice cream. Per capita consumption has been steadily rising, as the Federal Republic now ranks somewhere in the middle among European countries led by Sweden.

Brand name manufacturers dominated the market in Germany last year with a 78.5% share on sales volume of 464.2 million liters compared to 438.2 million in 1987. The remainder was divided between producers of hand-made ice cream and softeis (soft ice cream).

In terms of value, the brand name ice cream segment was able to increase its total sales to 3.25 billion DM. The unusual growth rate was attributed in large part to extraordinarily warm weather in May and June. While ice cream consumption in the cooler part of the year enjoyed a less spectacular but constant increase, rain and sunshine are the deciding factors in the summer ice cream business. Last year, impulse items (ice on a stick, ice cream tubs, etc.) profited thanks to mother nature. These items, often bought on the spur of the moment, attained a sales volume increase of 6.1% and a value rise of 8.8%. The higher growth in sales value is due to the fact that higher-priced products are increasing in popularity -- some by as much as 18%. The decision to purchase is heavily influenced by considerations of quality. Thus specialty items advanced by 10.4% (volume) and 14.8% (value).

Despite the upward trend shown by impulse items, household packages are still the main support of the ice cream business. This year, they accounted for 187.9 million liters worth 1.3 billion DM. That signifies a volume increase of 4.4% and a value gain of 5.3%. Packages in the one- to three-liter range are growing in popularity, a consequence of the increasing number of households equipped with freezers.

An especially good seller was the multipack, containing portioned individual pieces, which increased by 25% over the previous year.

Brand name ice cream was also successful in the restaurant and bulk consumer fields. Growth rates of 4.7% (volume) and 6.2% (value) showed that producers offering service and wide variety found increased appreciation.

The 1989 ice cream season began, as is traditional, on April 1, and brand name manufacturers introduced about 180 new items. Among them, yogurt, quark, and buttermilk ice cream products were stronger than before, but the palette of fruit items was expanded as well.

A Natural Trend

In industrial catering just as in the dining room at home, the rise of wholesome, "full-value" food seems unstoppable. Naturally, frozen food manufacturers have been busy developing recipes formulated to have a positive effect on ailments such as high blood pressure, gout, diabetes, gallstones, or heart and circulatory problems. The result is often vegetable-rich, meat-sparing dishes made of whole grains or other ingredients that are high in roughage content as well as vitamins and minerals.

Addressing this trend, the German Deepfreeze Institute (DTI) has published a comprehensive menu of frozen, full-value and vegetarian products that shows the breadth of this future-oriented cuisine.

According to the DTI, many elements of the industrial caterers' standard program, such as various cuts of meat, can be offered as a snack with a frozen sauce made of whole grains and vegetables. They may also be used as the basis of a full meal in supplementation with vegetables or salad, with frozen wholegrain noodles, natural (brown) rice, or parsley potatoes. A few examples from the palette being offered include buckwheat, millot, fruit, grain, potato, corn, soy, tofu, and spinach, celery, and carrot hearts.

The FF assortment includes side dishes as well, as follows: brown rice; whole grain noodles like spatzel; millet and vegetable croquettes; soup ingredients like tofu, whole grain and vegetarian pasta squares; soy fillings for cabbage roulettes; and whole-grain sauces with different flavors such as pepper and vegetable.

There are frozen filled and unfilled grain and vegetable dumplings; whole-grain pancakes filled with mushrooms, berries, or raisin quark; whole-grain breakfast rolls with vegetable filling; and whole-grain pies and pastries filled with vegetables, herbs, tofu, or quark. Vegetarian whole-grain pizzas and pizza slices are popular.

"Vegetarian" meat products, like vegetable-burgers, vegetable Balkan rolls, vegetable rissoles, vegetable schnitzel, and vegetable wursts, make the transition to the vegetarian camp easier for the committed meat eater.

Popular products included stuffed vegetables, such as stuffed cabbage or cabbage rolls with vegetarian filling, paprika with vegetable or soy filling, and vegetable purees made from cauliflower, broccoli, celery, or carrots.

Complete dishes are becoming increasingly available, such as brocoli/cauliflower/whole-grain rice, and green corn with vegetables and cheese.

In addition, there are numerous items on the way such as skillet combinations of grain and vegetables, vegetarian dishes, and even fish-grain dishes like fish roulade with a vegetable/whole-grain filling, and plaice filet filled with whole grain and leaf spinach.
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Title Annotation:News from West Germany
Publication:Quick Frozen Foods International
Date:Oct 1, 1989
Words:860
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