Out of the freezer

With better cold supply chain facilities and deep freezer penetration as well as modern retail formats, India’s ice cream business, worth Rs 3,000 crore (including the unorganised sector) is in for a fillip. Havmor Ice Cream believes in staying ahead of the curve to capitalise on the potential By Saloni Bhatia

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With better cold supply chain facilities and deep freezer penetration as well as modern retail formats, India’s ice cream business, worth Rs 3,000 crore (including the unorganised sector) is in for a fillip. Havmor Ice Cream believes in staying ahead of the curve to capitalise on the potential By Saloni Bhatia

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Ankit Chona

With a group turn-over of Rs 450 crore, Havmor is one of the fastest growing pure ice cream brands in India. In a country where the ice cream sector is dominated by big companies, Havmor has shown significant growth and reach. The company has a wide product range of more than 160 varieties of ice creams, assorted candies, topo cones, ready to east cups and bulk packs, combo packs etc. Started by Pradeep Chona’s father in the year 1944,  the company is now led by his son, Ankit Chona, managing director, Havmor Ice Cream.

Talking about the ice cream market, Ankit Chona, says, “Ice cream is a very impulsive product. It is not a very involved purchase and that needs to be kept in mind. It is all about availability and how differentiated the product is. Delhi and Mumbai are great markets in terms of the population but the real consumption is happening in the small cities. There is huge competition in big markets and there is good possibility of market share. But the idea when you shift to Tier II and Tier III cities is that you are visible and easily available.”

India footprint

After creating a strong ground in the central and southern region, the company recently expanded to north India. The brand will invest Rs 100 crore over the next 36 months which includes a new facility at Faridabad taking the production capacity to one lakh litres of ice cream per day. Talking about the reasons for the late entry into the market, Chona says, “Delhi is comparatively a whole new market for us and in order to compete with the existing  dominant players one has to be prepared. Secondly the cost of doing business in the Delhi market is significantly higher than the other markets. One of the major issues in the north is seasonality and that is the reason we would like to concentrate on parlours, because there the fluctuation is comparatively low.”

Commenting on the challenges faced in the food retail sector, he states, “The number one challenge is curbing the unorganised sector. Almost 50 per cent of the ice cream market is unorganised and follow unhygienic practices. In order to rule them out the government introduces strict laws and the direct impact is on companies like us. In order to abide by the rules we have to invest more money and time in creating a good quality product. Competing with them in Tie II and Tier III cities is very challenging.”

Innovative scoop

The brand regularly invests in creating innovative and differentiated products. There are particularly known for their flavours like choco nutty, ice cream cakes and rainbow sparkle. Some of the bizarre flavours in the list are red chilly ice cream, whisky flavoured ice cream, green tea ice cream and baklava ice cream. Chona opines, “I think innovation is very important in this sector because ice cream is a fun product. Innovation helps one to be relevant in the market and create a product that is engaging.”

Talking about supply chain logistics, he added, “When it comes to ice cream it can only be stored and transported under 18 degree temperature. This is not an FMCG product which once launched can immediately be sent out in the market. The main challenge is to find the right vendors and make sure they have the facilities available for the storage of the ice cream. Power source is very important, in case a city has power cuts then the machines would have to be changed.” Today Havmor is available in more than 30,000 outlets across the states of Guajarat, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Goa and Telangana.

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