Ice cream firms look at healthier flavours

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Last Updated : 02 June 2020, 16:46 IST

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As the Indian ice cream industry faces huge losses during the Covid-induced lockdown, companies are prepping to launch new flavours to appeal to customers.

The Indian ice cream industry, which is worth 10,000 crore has suffered a setback of about Rs 2,000-2,500 crore during the lockdown, according to analysts tracking the sector. The months of March, April and May contribute to 40-45% of the industry’s annual business.

“We had meetings with the members and some market consultants, who have suggested to come up with nutritional ice creams like Chawanprash ice cream, Wheatgrass ice cream among others,” said Pradeep Pai, Managing Committee Member of Indian Ice-Cream Manufacturers Association (IICMA) and Promoter Hangyo Ice Creams Pvt Ltd.

The company recently launched a super-premium ice cream range with flavours like rose petals, saffron carnival and plans to launch flavours such as ginger lemon, tulsi and haldi shortly.

Pai mentioned that India’s per capita ice cream consumption is rather minuscule, standing at 370-380 grams as compared to US, where it is about 22 litres.

“The plan is to push consumers to buy more ice cream. R&D will take at least 90 days, but companies across the industry are working on these lines,” he said.

Experts say that there had been no business for companies across the sector during the lockdown. The companies in the sector start stocking up in January, February for the peak season. As sales have come to a halt, stock inventories are piled up in cold storages.

The top 20 companies constitute 70% of the Rs 10,000 crore market, while the remaining RS 3,000 crore is contributed by about 100 small players. They are on the verge of vanishing post the pandemic, say analysts. In fact, fruit-based ice creams worth crores have been discarded during the lockdown as they have a shelf-life of 10-15 days as opposed to regular ice creams, that have a longer shelf life of 10-12 months.

Girish Pai, Director, Naturals said, “By the second week of April, we had to discard ice cream worth Rs 2-3 crore. We are working on some new flavours. We will see the situation post the lockdown and launch them accordingly,” he added.

Jaganath M N, Co-founder, Dairy Day Ice Cream also talked about the plans of launching new flavours. He said, “We are planning to introduce haldi, pepper and other immunity-boosting ice creams soon.”

HUL’s Kwality Walls has seen a sharp deceleration in the ice cream category.

An HUL company spokesperson said, “As a result of the lockdown, our out-of-home channel remains closed. While manufacturing is continuing in a limited capacity, sales continue to be low.”

Many other ice cream companies are also resorting to direct home delivery of ice creams to customers.

Published 02 June 2020, 16:13 IST

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