All-season flavour

Regional ice cream brands are looking to play on their strengths as they aspire to go national

Photographs by Soumik Kar

For a product that largely thrives on impulse buying, the ice cream business in India has some really cool numbers to show. At Rs.10,000 crore, the ice cream (including frozen desserts) market has been growing at 15-20% every year over the past five years. While Amul by far remains the market leader with 14% share, regional brands, too, have managed to come into their own. The fact that the ice cream market was getting lucrative enough was evident when after a hiatus of 21 years South Korea’s Lotte Confectionery lapped up Gujarat-based Havmor for Rs.1,020 crore, a valuation more than 2.5x its sales. The last time the ice cream market had seen an M&A deal was in 1996 when HUL (then HLL) purchased Kwality. The bullishness is not without reason: rising mercury levels and increasing demand along with new product launches are fuelling growth in this sector. Also, India’s per person consumption of just 0.26 kg compared with the Asia-Pacific average of 1.66 kg shows that there is enough headroom for growth.