After facing a completely washed-out summer in 2020 due to the pandemic-induced lockdown, ice-cream players are banking on a strong revival in the upcoming season. Early onset of the season, projection of a harsher summer in the country this year and a uptick in the out-of-home consumption channel are making players bullish about this season’s sales.
The organised ice-cream industry in India was projected to grow at a CAGR of 18-20 per cent between 2019-2025. But the pandemic put brakes on the category’s growth last year. Now, industry players are hoping to get back to double-digit growth, and expect the industry to achieve a growth of 12-13 per cent in 2021.
RS Sodhi, Managing Director, Amul (Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation - GCMMF), said: “We are expecting to witness a growth of 25-30 per cent in sales in the ice-creams business over 2019. We expect to see revival in demand in both the out-of-home consumption channel as well as the HORECA (Hotels, Restaurants, Catering and Events) channel.”
From expanding distribution to launching new products, ice-cream players are pulling out all the stops to clock in sales.
Sanjay Sharma, Business Head – Dairy Products, Mother Dairy, said: “The early onset of summer has already pushed the sales of our ice-creams business in February. We expect the category to bounce back strongly. We plan to launch 8-10 new products. We will also be ramping up distribution by launching our products in 150-200 new towns across the country. At the same time, we are also investing on additional point-of-sales in the existing markets. We will also be investing on a 360-degree campaign during the season to drive brand salience.”
A report by Edelweiss Securities released on Wednesday stated that “Hindustan Unilever’s ice-creams, foods solutions and vending businesses are improving progressively as out-of-home consumption occasions increase.”
Ice-cream at home
While the resurgence of the number of Covid cases in certain States have made the players a bit cautious, the industry expects take-home packs to continue seeing strong demand on the back of rising in-home consumption.
Vincent Noronha, VP-Marketing & Business Head, Parlours at Havmor Ice Cream, said: “We expect to see business getting back to the pre-Covid levels in the upcoming summer season. In the past two months, we have already seen strong footfalls at our exclusive outlets. Since 2018, we have been focussing on growing our distribution. The brand now has a strong presence across the top metros and the 55 mini-metros, and we hope to leverage on our expanded distribution as a national player to achieve strong growth this year.”
With acceleration in adoption of digital platforms, ice-cream players are also increasingly focussing on reaching consumers through the e-commerce channel. “Nearly 40 per cent of our revenues at our exclusive branded outlets now come from aggregators such as Swiggy and Zomato,” Noronha said.