NEW DELHI: India's ice-cream market is growing fast with brands mostly dividing into one of two camps – happiness or health – in their marketing strategies.
The value of the category rose almost 17% last year according to researcher Euromonitor, while volume is growing even faster this year, for some companies at least.
R S Sodhi, managing director of Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation which owns the Amul brand, told the Business Standard that sales are "growing at least 30% month on month as compared to the last season" and new manufacturing capacity is being added.
A similar analysis came from Sumit Mathur, general manager, HUL, who noted that India is one of the lowest per capita consumers of ice cream in the world. "However, this is changing with the category growing in high double digits and 'out of home impulse' consumption being on the rise."
Such spur-of-the-moment purchases tend to be based on a consumer's mood and as the managing director of Vadilal, a regional brand aiming to go national, observed: "Ice-creams are all about enjoyment", and its advertising featuring actress Parineeti Chopra reflects that.
""We chose Parineeti to tell our brand's story as she comes across as a bubbly, cheerful person," said Rajesh Gandhi.
Global brand Baskin Robbins is also focused on happiness, with an added 'cool' factor as it targets young adults specifically.
Other local players, such as Amul and Havmor, have focused on health – respective taglines include 'Real milk. Real ice cream' and 'Goodness of pure milk in Havmor ice creams' – as they seek to differentiate themselves from cheaper products using vegetable fats and to appeal to urban consumers concerned with well-being.
The premium category is emerging as a particularly active area for ice-cream brands, but even as they put greater marketing spend behind these ranges so they are also facing greater pricing pressures.
The Business Standard reported industry sources as saying that competitive pricing by players like Amul (its Epic brand, for example costs Rs 40) had forced Unilever to slash the price of its Magnum range from Rs 95 to Rs 75.
Data sourced from Business Standard; additional content by Warc staff