Unseasonably cold weather across Europe during spring has led to Unilever experiencing a drop in ice cream sales.
The company announced that organic sales had fallen by 3.1 per cent in its financial results for the first quarter of the year. It meant that it missed City analysts' expectations in the opening part of 2013 on weak volumes which were estimated at at rise of 3.2 per cent but could only manage 2.2 per cent. Investec's Martin Deboo explained to FoodManufacture.co.uk that the company was hindered by conditions in Europe despite securing a marginal growth level on a global basis. It was also set against the strong performance that it had recorded 12 months prior.
Unilever stated that overall ice cream sales across the world were up slightly but were dampened by poor performances in Europe and the UK. Spring is a traditional strong point for companies selling frozen treats but thanks to unseasonably cold weather this has put people off the idea of eating ice cream. In the UK, March saw parts of the country being blanketed in snow and temperatures plummeting into the minus figures. There was a similar story in mainland Europe with the likes of Germany and France seeing frequent snow showers.
Mr Deboo told the news provider: "The Q1 was against a tough prior year volume comparison, driven by an extra trading day, an earlier Easter and a strong start to the ice cream season."
Unilever confirmed that turnover had increased by 0.2 per cent for the opening part of the year with revenues growing to €12.2 billion (£10.2 billion) and was even achieved despite the negative currency impact of 3.5 per cent. One of the driving forces behind the global success of its ice cream was Magnum.
The brand currently has a value of €1 billion and recently launched the Magnum Gold in the US as well as the introduction of the '5 kisses' limited edition range and the new pint format in Europe.