No sign of meltdown in ice cream sales

WE'VE got the rest of Europe licked when it comes to ice cream sales.

Even during a summer that will be remembered for its constant rain and temperatures that bring cold comfort to most, it seems we can't get enough of the stuff.

Although the weather hasn't exactly been hotting-up, we still managed to get through 180 million in ice cream products, according to annual figures up to May 2002.

Italy, Spain, and France might seem like more appropriate places to cool off with a cone, but we remain the third-highest consumers of ice cream in Europe, just behind the Swedes and Italians.

And the market is showing no signs of a meltdown. "We are always bringing new products to the market," said HB marketing manager John Concannon yesterday. "Last year, we introduced Fat Frog, expecting to sell four million units - we sold 12 million."

Of the 180m spent on ice cream, we bought 120m to eat immediately, but stocked up on another 60m worth to put in the fridge - in the unlikely event of a heatwave, presumably. Soft drinks are also flying off the shelves, according to figures released by market research company ACNeilsen. Up to 348 million litres of fizzy drinks were sold in the year to May, an 11% rise on the previous year. And World Cup penalty shoot-outs must be thirsty work because C&C says increased sales during the competition have helped lift sales. Imagine what would happen if we got a bit of sunshine.

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