I'm new to the forum. I hope this helps.
I also wish I had the bling to splurge for these market reports. As a broke startup who writes business proposals without the guarantee of a contract, I definitely will not pay for a $200 report.
So I just go straight to the source and factor in cost, labor, revenue, and identify what ever measure it is I might be able to alleviate in cost, add value to, etc. For the ice cream industry one of the largest costs is packaging. So why not create some marketing opportunity, by reducing packaging cost, use something recyclable which you can then approach the government for some type of grant that promotes the environment and reducing carbon foot print, get national press and be the green leader in the industry.
In regards to national trends there is plenty of information available online as industry trends are widely publicized for investors so it's really just a matter of identifying the trends you want to find; volatility, growth, cost, revenue, etc
I'm working on a business proposal for a local Ben & Jerry's. Went to the factfinder.census.gov page and filtered the data based on industry (ice cream manufacturing) and found pretty much all the data I needed.
As far as trends over time, I found
When you identify the report provider, they'll highlight the types of data they provide, google them. So I found this website, anythingresearch.com
And in it they list the sources from which they use to compile their report
Source: Analysis of US Census data
Source: Analysis of U.S. federal statistics
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
Source: Analysis of IRS tax returns
Bare DIY. I wouldn't recommend this to everyone. But, if you like to stare at data all day, why not? Good luck. I'll try to improve my writing and try to be less choppy. I'm still new to forums in general.