The opportunities for ice cream industry in India are many but the industry will need to optimise their production systems, packaging technologies and cold chain management, ensure compliance with quality standards, and get their marketing mix right. A report

Ice-cream, which was considered an indulgent category in the past is now perceived as a snacking option by consumers. The industry in India is going through competition, innovation and growth. In the fray are not only Indian top ice cream brands like Amul, Vadilal, Mother Dairy and other small and regional players but also international giants like Unilever, Movenpick and Baskin Robbins. The opportunities for growth are many but the industry will need to optimise their production systems, packaging technologies and cold chain management, ensure compliance with quality standards, and get their marketing mix right.

I scream. You scream. We scream for I-C-E C-R-E-A-M! Well, that’s what the world and India wants. Though our country has a whole variety and range of sweets and desserts, ice creams remain the most desired – if not most popular. This has turned the ice cream industry in India into one of the fastest-growing segments of the dairy or food processing industry. This, despite the fact that our country has a low per capita ice cream consumption of – 400 ml – as compared with per capita consumption of ice cream of 22,000 ml in the United States and 3,000 ml in China. The industry is looking up, thanks to the improving cold chain infrastructure in the country aided by the ever-increasing disposable income and changing lifestyles.

In 2016, the ice cream industry in India created revenue of more than USD 1.5 billion. This is forecast to go up approximately USD 3.4 billion by 2024. Once again, this is despite the fact that there are a few national players and smaller players do not want to get into the field owing to the high perishability of ice cream products. Most of the popular ice cream brands are regional with a multitude of brands concentrating on only one or two districts or in some cases only one state. Ice-cream, as a category, has been growing at a healthy CAGR of ~10-15%.

Just a decade ago, ice-creams were limited to traditional flavors, e.g. vanilla, chocolate and strawberry, along with some other variants like kesar-pista, mango, elaichi, traditional kulfi, etc. However, over the years an array of innovations have come in not only in the main category but also in the subcategories like frozen yoghurt.

The category’s growth has provided the opportunity to international and regional players in ice cream industry. Today, national ice cream brands like Amul and Mother Dairy, along with international ice cream brands like Unilever, Cream Bell, Movenpick, etc. occupy centerstage along with many regional ice cream brands. While Amul is the market leader in the ice-cream category making up almost one-third of the market, it is followed by Hindustan  Unilever and Mother Dairy. To widen the consumer base and product acceptability, ice cream industry has been forced to innovate product offerings and delivery of service. And the consumer is loving it – never mind the fact that he has to pay more.

Baskin Robbins, for example, serves more than 25 flavours in their exclusive stores, e.g. Rum Punch, Mississippi Mud, Banana Caramel, etc while Nestlé’s Movenpick offers tropical fruit sorbets and sorbet-and-ice-cream combinations while Amul has a wide range of mid-market and premium products and has recently introduced the super-premium Crème Rich. Vadilal has the largest range of ice creams in the country with 150 plus flavors, sold in a variety of more than 300 packs and forms. The range includes cones, candies, bars, ice-lollies, small cups, big cups, family packs, and economy packs.

Then there is the Gujarat-based brand Havmore that has flavours as caramel biscotti, fresh mango, pink currant, pistoria, Tiranga ice candy and a truffle bar, in turbo cones, besides flavors with white chocolate, in addition to its paan and matka ice-creams, bubblegum-flavored, lollypop ice-cream, Nutty Belgian Dark Chocolate, Kesar Malti, Classic Caramel, and Berry Blast.

Additionally, the smaller makers are dishing out gourmet flavours like the Kolkata-based Fresh & Naturelle, for instance, that has brought out sandalwood, Japanese green tea and Kolkata meetha paan flavours. Similarly, Natural Ice Cream, which is largely marketed in Maharashtra and Karnataka, includes custard apple and the festival-oriented Makar Sankranti Special, containing sesame seeds and peanuts. Movenpick has plans for a masala chai flavoured ice-cream.

Another innovation that is gaining ground is diet-friendly ice creams, such as low-fat and sugar-free ice cream, as well as ice cream cakes. There is also frozen yoghurt which is fast gaining popularity. A fast-emerging segment in retail service are brands like Cocoberry, Red Mango, Kiwi Kiss, and Yogurberry selling flavored/frozen yoghurt in signature flavors through exclusive/standalone outlets. Such outlets are present in colleges, schools, office canteens, airports, five-star hotels, and as independent kiosks. The frozen yoghurt category is estimated to make up 10-12 percent of the Frozen Desserts/Ice-cream market, is witnessing faster growth than the overall market, at a CAGR of 15-16 percent, and is expected to more than double in size over the next five years. The entry of multinational players like Red Mango, Pinkberry, Yogurberry, etc. is likely to widen the market and push its growth beyond current estimates.

The industry as a whole is witnessing rising dairy costs that in turn are pushing up prices at the consumer end. Traditional favourites, e.g. milk-based and candy ice creams, and the wide distribution network of the milk-based ice-cream players have kept prices stable enough to withstand the competition from the new kids on the block, gelatos and frozen yoghurts. Also, since the ice-cream business is volume-driven, the price shift is widely distributed and does not affect the consumers financially. On the flip side, this provides an opportunity for frozen yoghurt and gelato brands not only to educate consumers on the merits of their products but also to expand their manufacturing and distribution capabilities and thus capture an untapped market. To increase their market share, ice-cream manufacturers need to optimise their production systems, packaging technologies and cold chain management, ensure compliance with quality standards, and get their marketing mix right.

Top 10 ice cream brands in India

Amul

Amul is the first choice of so many ice cream lovers in India. Amul brand, owned by Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation, was established in 1946 in Anand, Gujarat. In addition to ice creams, Amul manufactures 200 other products such as Milk, Yogurt, cheese, buttermilk, shrikhand, chocolate, flavored milk, and milk powder too. The ice creams from Amul were firstly available in the Gujarat market in the year 1996. And since then they have never looked back. Therefore, today Amul is one of the top ice cream brands in India.

Hindustan Unilever Company

Hindustan Unilever is one of the biggest FMCG companies in India. This company owns a few big ice cream brands in India. Cornetto and Magnum are one of the top ice cream brands in India owned by Hindustan Unilever. These products are available in a variety of flavours. Indian people love ice creams from Cornetto and Magnum brand. And all of these things led Hindustan Unilever to become one of the top ice cream brands in India too.

Vadilal

The second on the list of top ice cream brands in India is Vadilal. It is another very well-known name among the ice cream lovers in India. Vadilal is among the very few companies which mostly focuses on its Ice creams and candies. They have been successful in touching the feeling of Indian ice cream consumers. And that’s why today, they are among some of the top ice cream brands in India. The very first outlet of this brand was started at Ahmedabad, Gujarat. Today, they have more than 150+ flavors to offer to their consumers.

Mother Dairy

Mother Dairy is a very strong name in the Indian ice cream industry. This company is very similar to Amul, in terms of the products, they manufacture and sell. Besides this, mother dairy is very popular for its milk, buttermilk, and many more dairy products. Mother Dairy brand is owned by National Dairy Development Board (NDDB), an organization in India. The ice creams from mother dairy are loved by thousands of Indian ice cream lovers. And therefore, Mother Dairy has made it on our list of top ice cream brands.

Arun Icecreams

Arun Icecreams is probably the most well-known brand of Hatsun Agro Products. When other ice cream brands opened parlours exclusively in the cities, Arun decided to take to suburban and even rural areas, leading the ice cream into the hearts of millions. The brand also consistently introduces new flavours every season, just to make sure customers have something fresh to look forward to every time they walk into an Arun Icecreams parlour.

Creambell

Next on the list of top ice cream brands in India is Creambell. Campbell is a joint venture between India’s Devyani Food Industries Ltd and France based ice cream brand Candia. Creambell has been able to win the hearts of its Indian ice cream consumers. In a very short time, they have been able to register their name as one of the best ice cream brands of this nation. The company is planning to expand its horizon in India and is present in 19 states. They are also named as one of the fastest-growing ice cream brands in India.

Havmor

Another big player in the ice cream industry is Havmor. Havmor Company has been able to stand strong as one of the big fighters in the battle of top ice cream brands in India for very long. This company is also most popular for selling ice creams and cones. Satish Chona is the founder of Havmor and it was launched in Karachi in the year 1944. If you are a person who loves to try different flavors, then Havmor will not disappoint you. Havmor is among the few ice cream brands in India that have a wide variety of ice cream flavors.

Baskin Robbins

Slightly on a more premium side is the Baskin Robbins brand of ice creams. This is an American ice cream brand and it has a global fan following for its ice cream. Launched in India in the year 1993, this company spotted the opportunity and the love for the ice cream in Indians. And therefore, they opened their first manufacturing unit outside North America was in Pune, India.

There is no doubt, that Baskin Robbins is one of the top ice cream brands in the World. But as it is slightly on the more premium side, this brand is not very well-known in some rural parts of the country.

Dinshaw’s

Dinshaw’s is also a very old and strong player in the Ice cream industry in India. It was established in the year 1932 by Dinshaw and Erachshaw Rana. They have been successful in surviving as one of the best ice cream brands in India. They have got a variety of ice cream flavors on their menu cards. Dinshaw’s is also regarded as one of the premium brands of Ice cream. And therefore, this brand is not so well-known in some rural areas of the country.

Other than that, Dinshaw’s is surely one of the top ice cream brands of this nation (India).

Top’N Town

Last but not least, Top’N Town, a very popular ice cream brand in India. This company is successfully operating in India for the last 40 years. And it has been able to register its name in the list of top ice cream brands in India.

At present, TOP ‘N TOWN has a strapping distribution network that spans close to 28000 retail outlets and 300 distributors across India.

Though the per capita ice-cream consumption in India is lower in comparison to other major markets, it is however an evolving one, growing at a CAGR of ~10-15 percent. This growth is good for the industry to keep moving on at a faster clip especially in the branded and new/innovative categories. With the growing consumer base, increasing disposable income, and a greater trend toward eating-out, the market stands poised to incorporate bigger players and more innovative concepts.