NEARLY two-thirds of caterers serve ice-cream and of those, 75% serve ice-cream every day, according to a new report from market research company Marketpower.
The report, based on research among 750 caterers, finds that 53% of all meals served out of the home have a dessert and of these more than 40% include ice-cream on its own or with some other item.
While almost all outlets serve vanilla, only 59% serve strawberry and 52% serve chocolate. Coffee comes in next, but way behind, served at only 10% of outlets.
Bulk or scooping ice-cream is the most popular serving method, accounting for four in every five servings.
According to the research, Walls and Brake Bros supply more caterers than any other manufacturer/own label supplier.
About one in every seven caterers in the sample who bought bulk or scooping ice-cream claimed to buy one or other of these brands, more than twice as many as any other brand identified.
Catering ice-cream desserts and slices are mainly used by the health and education sectors, whereas choc ices and the increasingly important ice-cream snack bars are popular in leisure outlets and canteens.
Around 95% of catering outlets buy ready-to-serve ice-cream or ice-cream products. The remainder make ice-cream from a mix or from scratch.
With sorbet, however, do it yourself is a more common option. Around 74% of hotels and 40% of restaurants serve sorbet with half of all hotels and a third of all restaurants who serve it making their own. The most popular sorbet flavours are lemon and orange.
Other popular desserts are pies (served by 68% of outlets), hot puddings (62%) and gƒteaux (56%).
The Catering Market for Ice Cream and Sorbet costs £5,000 from Marketpower. Tel: 081-840 5252.