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Easing of Covid curbs and predicting of higher mercury levels to propel the sales

After witnessing two consecutive years of lacklustre sales in summers, ice-cream makers are upbeat about their business this year. The relaxation of Covid restrictions across the country coupled with the prediction of a very hot summer is likely to augur well for companies which are expecting 25-35 per cent growth in sales this year.

The summers of 2020 and 2021 were bad for most ice-cream manufacturers due to the first and second wave of Covid pandemic.

According to Girish Pai, Director, Kamaths Ourtimes Ice Creams Pvt Ltd, ice-cream was one of the worst affected industries, particularly during the first wave of Covid in 2020. The revenues almost halved from that of the pre-Covid period. However, things started recovering and the drop in sale was little less (to the tune of 30-40 per cent) during the second wave. The company owns the Naturals ice cream brand.

“We are already at pre-Covid levels and we are expecting to grow by around 30-50 per cent this year over 2019,” Pai told BusinessLine.

Prestige Ice Creams, owner of the ice-cream brand Rollick, expects 30-35 per cent growth in sales during calendar year 2022 over the pre-Covid year of 2019 backed by “strong summer” and a steady rise in demand.

“In 2020, we were 50 per cent of our 2019 sales but in 2021 we grew by nearly 60 per cent over our 2020 numbers. This was mainly because both in 2020 and 2021 the peak summer months were hit by the Covid wave. Now during the current year we are expecting 35 per cent growth over the 2019 levels,” Gaurav Khemani, Managing Director, Prestige Ice Creams, said.

The company aims to achieve sales of close to Rs 150 crore by the end of the calendar year 2022.

Expanding footprint

Rollick, which is present across the states in the eastern region including Odisha, Jharkhand, Bihar, the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, north-eastern states and Bhutan, is looking to strengthen its presence in existing markets.

The brand has established its presence in 100 new towns and villages in West Bengal over the last one year and is further looking to strengthen its foothold in the eastern region.

Naturals Ice Cream, which is currently present across 11 states primarily in the western and northern region, is looking to expand its footprint in southern parts of the country post Diwali this year. The company has 18 company owned and 119 franchise stores at present. It plans to take the total store count to over 160 by the end of this year.

For Indian dairy brand, Keventers, known for its milkshakes, ice cream would remain a key area of focus during the coming fiscal, Aman Arora, co-founder and, director and CMO at Keventers said.

The company recently partnered with cloud-kitchen enablers, enabling the brand to accelerate the rollout of its pre-packaged ice cream consumer packs and scale their cloud kitchen operations. The brand has already set up over 80 Keventers Ice Creamery dark stores across Delhi NCR, Mumbai, Pune, Kolkata, Jaipur, Chandigarh, Ludhiana, Lucknow and Bhubaneswar, and plans are afoot to steadily scale across the country in 6-9 months.

It has launched it’s direct-to-consumer platform and also delivery aggregator platforms like Swiggy and Zomato.

Source : Hindu business Line , March 28 2022