A flurry of new dessert parlours across the UK could provide new and exciting opportunities for the dairy industry, according to the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB).

With 92 ice-cream parlours opening in 2018, the board suggests new ingredients and quality, innovative products could help the dairy sector lick this new trend.

These popular new venues are set to increase further – with the top 10 chains forecast to open a further 86 new branches this year.

AHDB analyst Zoe Avison explained that research suggests young people are drinking less alcohol than previous generations, but still want places to socialise. Ice-cream parlours fill the void of pubs and offer extravagant desserts which tap into consumer demand for out-of-home indulgence.

The food also plays into social media trends, with many offering customers extravagant ‘freakshakes’ and ‘bubble waffles’ which younger generations appreciate for their eye-catching appearance.

Milkshakes are becoming big business in the UK with 131 million sold here in 2018 (up 8.1% on the year before). It compares to 303 million servings of ice-cream (up 1.5%) and 70 million slices of cheesecake (up 13.7%).

Avison said: “We can see from this research that there is a real resurgence in dessert parlours as many people are looking to combine socialising with indulging.

These findings contradict previous perceptions that consumers, especially younger people, are moving away from dairy, which is great news for the sector.

“As a result of this surge in popularity, these venues now offer a number of new and exciting opportunities for the dairy industry, with dairy featuring heavily on the menus.”