NEW DELHI: India's domestic ice cream manufacturers and international brands are increasing their range of products and flavours to meet growing demand for in-home consumption, which has been rising at a rate of 25-30% annually.

Traditionally, the Indian market has focused on 'out of home' products, but improved cold chain distribution, increasing affluence plus greater availability of domestic cold storage is influencing behaviour.

Penetration of refrigerators in urban India rose to 41% in 2012 from 32.9% in 2009 while in-home consumption of frozen desserts has been rising 25-30% year-on-year compared with 20% for out-of-home varieties.

Devyani Food Industries, the New Delhi-based manufacturer which owns the Cream Bell brand, says its in-home share has risen 16% from 10% four years ago and expects consumption of larger pack sizes to grow over the next decade.

Meanwhile, the Amul brand, made by the Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation, has seen sales of its take-home packs increase to 50% from 30% a few years ago and has launched a dozen new products in family pack sizes.

International brands have not been slow to boost their presence in the growing market. Magnum, Unilever's biggest ice cream brand, entered the market a few weeks ago while Ben & Jerry – another Unilever brand – is expected to enter soon.

US-based Mini Melts recently established a facility in Bangalore in a franchising deal with Honeybee Amusements, whose managing director, Shoeab Salim, predicts will obtain 12% market share within three years.

Häagen-Dazs recently opened a flagship store in Chandigarh in northern India while other international premium brands, such as Baskin-Robbins and London Dairy, have begun to expand.

Gaurav Marya, president of Franchise India Holdings, told Knowledge at Wharton: "The Indian ice cream market is growing at the rate of 35% year-on-year and hence makes for an attractive destination for international brands. The challenge, however, lies in right pricing and cracking the distribution code."

Growing involvement by international brands is also influencing their domestic competitors, which recognise the appeal of the premium market. Devanshu Gandhi, managing director of Gujarat-based Vadilal, said: "Earlier, our share in the high-end ice cream market was almost negligible. This year we expect our premium products portfolio to generate $9m in revenues."

Data sourced from Livemint, Knowledge@Wharton; additional content by Warc staff