Updated Jul 17, 2022 - Economy

Ice cream is suffering from two scoops of inflation

Illustration of a melting ice cream cone, but the cone is a dollar bill.

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

Ice cream prices continue to rise but demand for the frozen treat hasn’t melted, experts told Axios.

The big picture: Ahead of National Ice Cream Day on Sunday, the latest Consumer Price Index found June ice cream prices were up 12.5% over last year and increased 3.1% from the prior month.

  • The overall CPI rose 1.3% in June alone, bringing the last year's price gains to a sizzling 9.1% — the fastest annual pace since November 1981, Axios’ Neil Irwin and Courtenay Brown report.

Yes, but: Inflation also has hit other dairy products.

  • Eggs were up 33.1% over last year.
  • Margarine is up 34.5% and butter 21.4% from last June.
  • Milk is up 16.4% from June 2021.

What they're saying: “Categories such as ice cream are viewed as discretionary, but also a small treat that shoppers will still buy during inflation as they look for some small ways to treat themselves as they look for other areas to cut spending,” Ben Wynkoop, a grocery expert with Blue Yonder, told Axios.

  • Demand for cold treats increases in the summer, said Brooke Tomasetti, director of financial education at Carbon Collective, a San Francisco-based investment advisor.
  • “The same consumers who will put off expensive purchases are likely to splurge on small luxury items — like taking the family out to the ice cream parlor,” Tomasetti said.
  • “Sometimes an activity like getting an ice cream for dessert can be a substitute for a full meal out which some have cut back on to make savings,” Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData’s retail division, told Axios.

Meanwhile, consumers can also save money by buying store brands of ice cream, Saunders said.

  • Expect brands to offer more discounts to consumers, including digital coupons or rebates, Wynkoop told Axios.

National Ice Cream Day deals

Zoom out: Sunday, July 17 is National Ice Cream Day and July is National Ice Cream Month, which offers an inflationary break with deals and freebies at restaurant chains nationwide.

Here are a few of the top deals Sunday available at participating locations:

  • Baskin-Robbins: Get $5 off any purchase of $15 or more Sunday through July 23 in-store and online. Use code BECOOLER at checkout for online orders and scan a coupon from the chain’s app to redeem the deal in ice cream shops.
  • Carvel: Visit Carvel Sunday and get a buy-one-get-one small cup or cone of soft serve ice cream.
  • Dairy Queen: With the chain’s app Sunday, get $1 off a Dipped Cone, excluding kid cones.
  • Whole Foods Market: Now through July 19, get 25% off ice cream and frozen treats. Prime members can save an additional 10%.
  • Ace Hardware: This is an early Ice Cream Day contest related to Some Day, the chain’s DIY holiday for consumers to tackle overdue paint projects. On Saturday, the chain will ask consumers to fill out a questionnaire about their Some Day projects through a link on its Instagram account bio and 10 will win free Benjamin Moore-inspired ice cream.

What's next: Find more ice cream deals in Axios’ full Ice Cream Day roundup

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