February 1, 2008

It's eight degrees below outside, let's get some ice cream!

I've mentioned before that I work at a grocery store, so inherently there are many things that baffle me about people's spending habits. One of which is why ice cream sells better during the colder, winter months than it does say in July.

Here's what I have come up with to explain this oddity. During the summer people are generally busier with outdoor activities, sports, travel and so on. There are fewer sit down family dinners, fewer movie nights and less game nights. During the winter when there seems to be more of a routine and school is in session people tend to be at home with each other more. This lends itself to more ice cream consumption. When it's cold outside families spend more time doing indoor activities like playing board games and watching more movies and spend less time doing things outside of the home. Having a bowl of ice cream is much easier to do while sitting at home.

Another factor that I think plays a big role in the increase of sales is that ice cream is a comfort food. Seasonality comes into play with the affect it has on people's moods. In general people are more likely to be depressed during the winter when it is gloomy and cold and around the holiday season. What better way to feel better than to have a nice big bowl of ice cream?

And last, people wear bigger, heavier clothes during the winter making a few extra pounds easier to hide. When summer starts approaching people become fully aware of how they look in their swimwear, tanks tops and daisy dukes. The thought of a big bowl of ice cream is a lot less comforting now.

Regardless the reason, it will always make me laugh when it is a blizzard outside and 10 people in line to buy their favorite flavor of Ben and Jerry's.

1 comment:

Russell Harward said...

It does seem strange that more people buy ice cream in the winter months. Your reasons make perfect sense to me. In the summer people are out more and if they have a craving for ice cream they probably go to a coldstone rather than a grocery store.
Going off of what you said... I wonder if Ice cream typically sells better (in grocery stores) in colder climates. Winter time in southern California would not have the same effect on peoples habbits as those in Colorado.