Cold comfort

HUL’s premium ice cream offering is unlikely to give the chills to local players

RA Chandroo

Kareena Kapoor says she’s been a fan since she was 16. She isn’t the only one — every year, Unilever sells over 1 billion sticks of Magnum ice cream that account for 2% of the parent firm’s global revenue. It has taken a while for the Dutch MNC to bring Magnum, the world’s largest selling ice cream, to India. Magnum was introduced in Europe over 20 years ago and yet is taking a slow approach to the launch. Hindustan Unilever (HUL), the second-biggest ice cream brand after Amul, soft launched Magnum in Chennai during April 2013. Only now it is seeking a national rollout for the ice cream, albeit with Kapoor as its brand ambassador. It is now available in four more cities — Mumbai, Pune, Hyderabad and Bengaluru. The larger question, though, is: will Indians warm up to the idea of paying ₹85 for a cold dessert bought from a kirana store?