Industry players say it was a washout year for them and there are no chances of any recovery this year.
The ice cream industry in India was projected to generate revenues of around $3.4 billion by 2021. But these targets look impossible in a post-Covid world. Industry players say it was a washout year for them and there are no chances of any recovery this year. Ice cream consumption has fallen between 60-80% in the country.
Brands that are largely dependent on the ice cream parlours to reach customers are the most hit. Some recovery was seen in the retail store segment in June. But, ice cream consumed at home cannot make up for the lost market as 60-65% of ice cream in the country is consumed out of home. Also 50-60% of the ice cream is consumed is after 5 pm which has got affected with shops shutting down early across the country. The silver lining for the ice cream industry has been the opening up of the e-commerce channel and home delivery of ice cream.
Apart from the lockdown, the fears of ice cream causing Covid infection had hurt the industry the most. Industry players admitted that they could not win consumer confidence back.
Sudhir Sitapati, ED & V-P, foods and refreshment, Hindustan Lever, and chairman, CII national committee on food processing, said the ice cream industry was worst hit among the food industry as the whole year was a washout. The Covid crisis has show us the weakness in our category and the need to change perception, said Sitapati. Consumer confidence in the product is fragile and the industry would have to come together to dispel the Covid myths, he said. The street vendors, who sold ice cream on tricycles, were on the verge of starvation and needed assistance from the company for survival, he pointed out. The challenge was to be able to keep them in business through this difficult year, Sitapati said. Despite the high double-digit rate of growth, the per capita consumption in India was low, he said at the CII Ice-Cream Industry Conclave.