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Europe Soft Serve Market

Europe Market Study on Soft Serve: Germany and Sweden Account for High Consumption

Europe Soft Serve Market

Europe Soft Serve Market Outlook (2023 to 2033)

The Europe soft serve market expanded at 2.6% CAGR from 2018 to 2022 and ended up at a valuation of US$ 2.56 billion in 2023. As per this latest study by Persistence Market Research, sales of soft serve in the European region are expected to increase at 3.6% CAGR and reach US$ 3.64 billion by the end of 2033.

Soft serve, also known as soft ice cream, is a frozen dessert produced by freezing a heat-treated mixture of milk, solids, emulsifier, milk solids, creams, and flavorings. Soft serve is majorly low in milk fat (3% to 6%) and occurs at a temperature of about -4 °C.

Demand for low-fat ice cream and rapidly expanding fast food chains across Europe are factors influencing the market in Europe. The year-on-year growing per-capita consumption of ice cream across Germany, Spain, France, Sweden, Italy, the United Kingdom, and Poland is expected to augment sales of soft serve over the coming years.

The European market is highly fragmented and a growing number of ice cream parlor vans and trucks in residential areas in Germany, the United Kingdom, and Sweden has positively influenced market expansion. The convenience of enjoying a scoop or cone of soft ice cream on-the-go while working, traveling, shopping in malls, and visiting amusement parks is one of the key factors driving sales of soft serve in the European market.

Attribute Key Insights

Europe Soft Serve Market Size (2023E)

US$ 2.56 Billion

Projected Market Value (2033F)

US$ 3.64 Billion

Projected Market Growth Rate (2023 to 2033)

3.6% CAGR

Historical Market Growth Rate (2018 to 2022)

2.5% CAGR

Key Markets

Germany and Sweden

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What are the Market Trends Driving Soft Serve Consumption in Europe?

“Growing Demand for Artisanal Ice Cream and Specialized Equipment”

Artisanal ice creams refer to custom ice creams made in small quantities based on the preferences of the artist involved in making the ice cream. The advent of new flavors and the incorporation of different food ingredients have provided a push to producers of specialty ice creams. This has also provided impetus to the development of artisanal soft serve as well.

There are several manufacturers involved in the development of specialized equipment to enable and support individuals involved in the production of artisanal ice cream. Artisanal ice cream used to be a premium and luxury product available to a select few, but this trend has changed with the advent of newer technologies and rising interest of individuals in novel taste experiences.

“High Demand for Clean Labeling and Transparency in Soft Serve Ice Cream Products”

Increase in awareness regarding the harmful effects of added flavors, colors, and preservatives has led to consumers demanding detailed information about the food items that they indulge in. With the help of the latest technology, consumers are tracking the journey of food products/items from their source to the store to ensure safety.

Consumers are more aware of clean-label products and check the ingredients and content on the product packaging before making a purchase. Consumers are also attracted to products that support humane and healthy farming practices. Information regarding the source of raw materials and minimal processing adds to the appeal of soft serve ice creams.

“Preference for On-the-Go Consumption and Innovative Soft Serve Ice Cream Flavors”

Consumers today lead hectic lives and prefer to consume food and other products on the go. This applies to the consumption of soft serve as well since they are easy to carry and consume. Ice creams have traditionally been popular products, with manufacturers undertaking innovations in flavors and formats to capture consumer attention.

Soft serve has generally been popular, particularly in European regions, as a light snack. Innovations in flavors and bases of soft serve ice creams contribute to providing new and novel gastronomic experiences for consumers.

“Rising Adoption of Veganism and Novelty in Ice Cream Formulations”

Rising adoption of veganism has resulted in innovations in the food and beverages industry with newer formulations being incorporated to suit consumers’ preferences. Consumers who do not follow dietary restrictions also try vegan food products to enjoy new flavor experiences. This contributes to the sales of such products, particularly in developed regions. Food innovations and advancements have been extended to the production of ice creams, including soft serve.

  • For instance, in 2022, McDonald's Germany launched a vegan chocolate base for its ice cream products, such as McFlurry and McSundae. These products can be ordered with vegan KitKats and vegan strawberry sauce. While veganism remains a niche trend, companies are incorporating these products to diversify their offerings and bring about changes in the industry.

“Growing Emphasis on Incorporating Fusion Flavors in Soft Serve Ice Creams Driven by Youth’s Preference for Experimentation”

There is a growing popularity of fusion foods, particularly among the younger generation, especially Gen Z, who are eager to experiment with flavors and drive change in the market. This trend has also influenced the development of fusion flavors in ice creams, which are gradually finding their place on the palates of the general public, who are accepting and incorporating them into their consumption patterns.

Fusion flavors typically face skepticism initially, as they are unfamiliar, and it takes time for adoption and acceptance. However, introducing fusion flavors in soft serve presents an opportunity for ice cream manufacturers to cater to the younger demographic.

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What’s Hindering the Demand for Soft Serve Ice Cream Products to Some Extent?

“Vulnerability of Soft Serve to Bacterial Contamination”

Soft serve machines are indeed susceptible to bacterial contamination, and it is crucial to follow proper protocols for cleaning and sanitizing them every 10 to 24 hours. Mold and other harmful pathogens can develop if these machines are not properly maintained. The safety and cleaning of the apparatus can be a complex process, as it often involves removing certain parts for cleaning while sanitizing and cleaning other parts in place.

Soft serve is made from an unpasteurized milk-based base that is stored at refrigeration temperature (around 4 °C) to ensure its safety for consumption. Skilled personnel are required to handle and maintain the apparatus to prevent contamination that could affect consumer health.

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Country-wise Insights

Why is Poland a Lucrative Market for Manufacturers of Soft Serve Products?

“Ongoing Innovation and Development of New Flavors”

Poland accounts for 7% of soft serve consumption in Europe, with the majority being contributed by the vanilla flavor. The chocolate flavor segment is projected to advance at a value CAGR of 4.4% over the forecast period. This growth can be attributed to the continuous development and ongoing innovation in formulating new flavors to appeal to customers.

Development of flavors is an ongoing process, as consumers are drawn to the introduction of new offerings by manufacturers.

What is the Demand Outlook for Soft Serve in Germany?

“Strong Demand for Soft Serve Driven by Need for Convenience and Fast-Paced Lifestyles of Consumers”

Germany holds a 40% share of the Europe market in 2023. Demand for soft serve in the country amounted to US$ 961.5 million in 2022. Quick-service and full-service restaurants are anticipated to account for substantial consumption, with an estimated valuation of US$ 409.8 million in 2023. This segment is projected to maintain a CAGR of 4% through 2033.

Soft serve ice cream's popularity in Germany can be attributed to its ease of production and consumption. The significant growth in demand is a result of the region's level of development and the fast-paced lifestyles of consumers, which favor the consumption of conveniently available products such as soft serve.

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Category-wise Insights

Which Soft Serve Flavor is Most Widely Consumed in Europe?

“Market Benefitting from Introduction of Innovative Flavors amidst Dominance of Vanilla and Chocolate”

Based on flavor, vanilla and chocolate dominate the Europe market with roughly 38% and 35% shares, respectively. The ice cream industry thrives on the development of unique flavors.

Rise in the introduction of innovative flavors is driving market growth. However, vanilla and chocolate remain the most easily recognizable flavors and hold significant value in the market. The novelty factor of innovative flavors appeals to the younger generation, while the older generation tends to stick to traditional flavors such as vanilla and chocolate.

Competitive Analysis

The European soft serve market is primarily characterized by a large number of local players. These companies, with a wide presence in European countries, account for 35% to 45% of the market. Manufacturers in the Europe soft serve market typically sell their products through local ice cream parlors in various countries. This pattern indicates a gradual increase in consumption due to the rising demand for soft serve products among consumers throughout the country.

  • In May 2022, McDonald's announced a partnership with Deliveroo in the United Kingdom, offering a platform for consumers to access their services. Deliveroo, a United Kingdom-based company, is to have access to McDonald's entire menu, providing customers with more options for food delivery.
  • In February 2021, KFC opened a new restaurant in Rome, Italy. This step is taken by the company to expand its retail presence in Europe. The presence of outlets is expected to inadvertently result in higher revenue generation and subsequent sales of soft serve.

Europe Soft Serve Industry Report Scope

Attribute Details

Forecast Period

2023 to 2033

Historical Data Available for

2018 to 2022

Market Analysis

  • US$ Billion for Value
  • Tons for Volume

Region Covered


Key Countries Covered

  • United Kingdom
  • Poland
  • Germany
  • Spain
  • Sweden

Key Market Segments Covered

  • Flavor
  • Distribution Channel
  • Country

Key Companies Profiled

  • Burger King
  • Creams Franchising Ltd.
  • Flat Iron
  • KFC
  • Korean Dinner Party
  • MAX Burgers AB.
  • McDonald’s
  • Mister Softee UK
  • MrWhippy
  • Vegan Softice
  • Wendy’s

Report Coverage

  • Market Forecast
  • Company Share Analysis
  • Competition Intelligence
  • DROT Analysis
  • Market Dynamics and Challenges
  • Strategic Growth Initiatives

Customization & Pricing

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Europe Soft Serve Industry Research Segmentation

By Flavor:

  • Vanilla
  • Chocolate
  • Strawberry
  • Other Flavors

By Distribution Channel:

  • Quick-Service Restaurants (QSRs) & Full-Service Restaurants (FSRs)
  • Ice Cream Parlors, Trucks, and Vans
  • Amusement Parks/Malls/Multiplexes
  • Vending Machines/Self-Service Kiosks

By Country:

  • United Kingdom
  • Poland
  • Germany
  • Spain
  • Sweden

- Companies Covered in This Report -

  • Burger King
  • Creams Franchising Ltd.
  • Flat Iron
  • KFC
  • Korean Dinner Party
  • MAX Burgers AB.
  • McDonald’s
  • Mister Softee UK
  • MrWhippy
  • Vegan Softice
  • Wendy’s

- Frequently Asked Questions -

The Europe soft serve market advanced at a CAGR of 2.6% from 2018 to 2022.

The market in Germany is estimated to reach US$ 993.5 million in 2023.

Sales of soft serve in Europe amount to US$ 2.56 billion in 2023.

Demand for soft serve in Europe is estimated to reach a market value of US$ 3.64 billion by 2033.

Sales of soft serve in Europe are projected to increase at 3.6% CAGR from 2023 to 2033.

Burger King, KFC, McDonald’s, and Wendy’s are leading suppliers of soft serve products in Europe.

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