Scottish dessert fans are buying more premium ice cream than ever before – and are turning their backs on budget and often non-dairy versions as a result.

Research from Market data site Kantarworldpanel has revealed that the premium ice cream market in Scotland is growing ahead of the rest of the UK at 2.1 per cent total market share – with enough of the high-end produce sold to fill an Olympic swimming pool more than four times over.

Data revealed by the company shows the 66 per cent of Scots now buy premium ice cream, purchasing it six times a year and spending on average £2.65 per litre.

This rise in the market hasn’t been matched by the standard versions of ice cream, where sales have plummeted by 10 per cent.

Aberdeenshire based Mackie’s of Scotland remains the best selling premium brand north of the border, with 32 per cent of the volume of branded premium ice cream market share, outselling established brands such as Ben & Jerry’s and Wall’s Carte Dor.

Stuart Common, Commercial Director at Mackie’s of Scotland, produces over 11 million litres of ice cream each year, said: “Scotland has a long and proud history of producing quality ice cream – with many Italians bringing their recipes with them as far back as the 19th Century – so it is great to witness the growing and continuing popularity of the treat of real ice cream.”

Stuart also believes there is now a much greater awareness of ingredients and provenance, with individuals more likely to scrutinise labels.

Channel 4’s ‘Supershoppers’ recently melted a range of brands in a high-profile test, highlighting the use of oils as a substitute for dairy, a common feature with budget ice cream.

He added: “People simply care about what is in their food and there is certainly an increased awareness out there about ingredients.

“For that reason we don’t expect this switch towards upmarket ice cream to change or slow down: Scots will increasingly opt for premium as an affordable luxury.

“Good ice cream is an instant dessert that is in keeping with the modern age. As a treat it simply makes sense to go for quality – and that is exactly what the growing number of Scottish ice cream aficionados are doing.”

While consumer interest in new flavours is always high, vanilla and Traditional remains by far the most popular flavour, with sales more than double that of the next flavour.

Mackie’s unique, original ice cream, the “Traditional”, which has a natural creamy taste and no added flavours, remains Mackie’s top seller accounting for 68 per cent of the brand’s Scottish sales.

The famous Scottish sweet tooth is also very evident, with ‘Honeycomb’ being the family firm’s second best seller, followed by the more recently launched ‘Scottish Tablet’ – already overtaking more traditional flavours such as strawberry and chocolate.

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