Hot Growth in a Cold Market

Consumers are slurping up an endless cascade of frozen desserts

Does America need 1,600 different varieties of frozen desserts? The answer to that weighty question is a resounding yes. Responding to an apparently insatiable consumer appetite for exotic frozen concoctions, U.S. food companies are producing a dazzling array of new products, from fruit bars and candy-coated ice cream to soft-frozen yogurt and brownie bars. In the process, the size and diversity of the $1.6 billion frozen-novelty market have grown spectacularly. That category includes all frozen desserts sold in individual portions, which have nearly doubled their sales in the past five years. The industry's burgeoning roster of competitors, which spend heavily to...

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