Freezing the heat: Which European countries eat the most ice cream?

FILE: Customers enjoy cones outside the Giolitti gelateria in Rome in 2010.
FILE: Customers enjoy cones outside the Giolitti gelateria in Rome in 2010. Copyright Alessandra Tarantino/AP2010
By Sudesh Baniya
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Europe's ice cream consumption has increased, but which countries are scooping the most?


As Europe continues to swelter in summer heatwaves, the continent's ice cream production and consumption is growing, according to the latest data. 

Member states of the European Union produced 3.2 billion litres of ice cream in 2022 totalling more than €6 billion in value, according to data crunchers Eurostat. That amounts to an increase of 5% compared to 2021. 

Over the same period, some 250 million kilos of ice cream was exported outside of the EU, a decrease of 2% compared to the previously available figures. 

The decrease in export figures, despite an increase in production, hints at Europeans resorting to ice creams to beat the heat. 

In addition to hotter summers, the numbers reflect Europeans' love for frozen desserts, with some accounts claiming the first dairy-mixed ice cream in Italy. 

The growth in ice cream consumption also corresponds to the continent's rapid urbanization and improvements in dairy technology, according to market research firm Research and Markets. 

The large German scoop

Germany produced 620 million litres of ice cream in 2022, accounting for almost one-fifth of the total annual production and bettering 2021's figures of 614 million litres.

Southern European countries France and Italy followed Germany's production figures with 591 and 571 million litres of production. 

German ice cream was the cheapest, costing €1.5 per litre on average, followed by France and Italy. 

Austria, which produced close to two million litres of ice cream, had the continent's most expensive ice cream at €7 per litre – more than four times its German neighbours. 

France: the exporting heavyweight

EU nations exported 250 million kilos of ice cream to non-European countries in 2022 while importing 61 million kilograms. 

France topped the charts of exports with 53 million kilograms exported outside of the EU, ahead of the Netherlands, Italy, Germany, and Belgium. 

France's ice cream trade market was by far the largest, followed by Ireland and Germany. 

Which countries consume the most ice cream?

Belgians buy more than 16 kilos of ice cream per capita – the most in the continent, according to the 2020 figures. 

Only Portugal and Poland were close to Belgium's per capita sales of ice cream at 14.18 and 13.6 kilos respectively. 

The Nordic countries have also built a reputation for being the biggest ice cream lovers over time, with Sweden, Denmark, Norway, and Finland among the highest buyers per capita.

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