Ice cream sales and related packaging demand tend to be affected by weather patterns, with the hotter the temperatures, the higher the demand, but dessert sales are set to rise further as the summer heats up.

A number of factors, some stemming from the pandemic and others predating it,  will bolster near-term sales and boost long-term prospects, according to a new Freedonia Group analysis of the $812 million ice cream and frozen dessert packaging market.

Key trends include:

  • growing popularity of single-serving sizes (e.g., frozen dessert cups, ice cream pints) due to their convenience and portion-control advantages, boosting prices per unit
  • rising demand for super premium products like gelato and gourmet ice cream
  • ongoing introduction of novel ice cream and frozen dessert flavors and styles — including vegan and other diet-oriented products

Additionally, major brand owners like Unilever have been taking advantage of the increased consumer reliance on e-commerce for groceries during the pandemic to expand sales outside of the warmer months of the year, working with delivery apps like UberEats to facilitate more direct-to-consumer deliveries of frozen treats. The strategy has proven successful, as sales of ice cream via online channels hit unprecedented levels in 2020.

U.S. demand for ice cream and frozen dessert packaging is forecast to rise 3.1% per year to $948 million in 2024. Tubs and cups will remain the leading packaging type used in these applications, supported by their entrenched position with popular items such as ice cream pints and quarts, as well as for single-serving frozen desserts.

The fastest growth among packaging types is projected for pouches, largely the result of growth in demand for novelties, where pillow pouches are used with treats such as hand-held bars, popsicles, and ice cream sandwiches. Stand-up pouches are also seeing more extensive use in frozen dessert packaging, such as for edible cookie dough bites.

For more information, visit