Ice cream is a sweet treat that we all enjoy especially during the summers, as even a single scoop feels like a bowl of heaven to beat the heatwaves. Most of the ice cream brands have reported good sales because of the high demand during summer. However, as winter approaches with the advent of the festive season in India, the demand for ice cream is going to be lower.
Amid the lower demand for frozen desserts and the festive season, the companies have various strategies under their sleeves. Here is what the Indian brands have lined up for the season.
Even though there is a lower demand for ice cream in winter, Baskin Robbins has been actively bringing newness to its offering irrespective of the season every year, according to Mohit Khattar, CEO at Graviss Foods – Baskin Robbins. “Baskin Robbins has introduced very exciting new flavours targeted not just kids but also for adults,” he said. The company anticipates a growth rate of around 20-25 per cent compared to last year.
Some companies like Havmor are using a variety of marketing strategies to manage seasonal fluctuations, including ‘Out of Home (OOH) and digital campaigns’.
“These initiatives, featuring local influencers and celebrities, are strategically designed to maintain our brand presence even when ice cream demand is naturally lower during the festive season,” said Komal Anand, Managing Director, Havmor Ice Cream.
The brand’s digital campaigns leverage social media and online channels to engage customers through creative and seasonal content, “such as contests and interactive experiences, ensuring our products remain top of mind and helping balance sales during the winter months,” he said.
While some brands are introducing new flavours and themes for the winter season, there are some other brands who are adjusting themselves as per the market demand and offering things, especially for the colder months.
“When the general demand for ice creams tends to be on the lower end, we have a diverse variety of products to offer our customers,” said Gagan Anand, Founder and Director, Scuzo Ice ‘O’ Magic.
In the last quarter, the company focussed more on its hot chocolate-based products. “We have designed numerous products specifically for colder weather, which sees an increase in their demand. Our unique range of hot beverages, snacks and brownie sizzlers have greater demand. Contrary to popular belief, we have observed an increase in the sale of our 500ml tubs as well,” he said.
Gearing Up For Festivities
During the festive season, Baskin Robbins implements a multi-faceted strategy in existing cities and metro areas with a strong presence to diversify its product line and engage consumers, even amidst potentially lower ice cream demand. This approach involves expanding into new catchments and establishing stores in prominent locations to capture a share of the festive market.
“We have revamped store designs to showcase new categories like ice cream cakes and sundaes effectively, experimented with kiosks at high footfall locations and bolstered their online presence to engage with customers and promote offers. Loyalty and reward programs encourage repeat visits, while a constant stream of innovative products such as Ice Cream Pizzas, bite-sized Ice Cream Rocks and themed sundaes attract those seeking unique festive treats,” Mohit emphasised.
To enhance the festive vibe, Havmor is focusing on its traditional ice cream range this festive season, which features distinctive flavours like ‘Taj Mahal’, ‘Rajwadi Kulfi Falooda’, ‘Dry Fruit Malai’ and ‘Matka Kulfi’.
“We have chosen these flavours as they represent the rich Indian heritage and traditions and add an authentic touch to the festivities. The selection of these flavours is based on their popularity and their ability to resonate with cultural and festive traditions. Traditional flavours like these invoke a sense of nostalgia and a strong connection with local customs, making them the perfect choice during this special time of year,” Komal highlighted.
“We have launched many seasonal products and variations of existing products during the festive season to both diversify our product line and attract consumers. Some prominent examples include our Rasgulla-based Popsicles during Durga Puja, Thandai-based mocktails and gelatos, etc. We take immense pride in our unique products and will continue to develop newer recipes targeted for the same,” Gagan underlined.
Collaboration between brands and categories is believed to be a great way to create awareness and acquire new customers, especially during the festive period.
“We have a very interesting cross-category collaboration in store based on which we have developed several products for our portfolio. There will also be Indian as well as international favourites coming up. We will have something of a very Insta-friendly product version too! The ‘plant sundae’, a new format in the form of a potted plant, and soil that is fully edible and crafted from ice cream is also our newly introduced product,” Mohit shared.
The campaign is set to encompass various occasions and festivals, infusing joy and happiness into every aspect of life, Komal stated.
“For the same, we have teamed up with renowned influencers to generate excitement, ensuring that it resonates with a wide and diverse audience. The campaign will also include a radio partnership with MyFM and collaborations with over 30+ Garba events in Ahmedabad and Baroda. These events will showcase enticing merchandise and feature interactive photo booths, elevating the festive experience to new heights,” he said.
In a country as diverse as India, it is crucial to understand the different pallets of customers. Regional variety plays a major role in maintaining the performance of products, as most companies are focusing on customising them according to local demand.
“Comparing our products in North India with South India, we have observed that our range of gourmet products performs better in the North compared to fruit-based products that do better in the South during festive seasons,” Gagan revealed.
While ice cream may not yet replace traditional sweets during the festive season, there is a growing effort in the ice cream industry, including product innovation and distribution strategies, to bridge this gap.
For instance, Baskin Robbins has introduced products with traditional Indian roots such as the gulab jamun sundae and the caramel milk cake flavour.
“We have also introduced the Carrot Halwa Sundae popularly known as the Gajar ka Halwa Sundae catering to the upcoming festive season. These offerings represent a modern twist on iconic Indian sweets, acknowledging the regional variations in taste preferences during festive times. Baskin Robbins is committed to creating more such innovative products to cater to local demands and create excitement in diverse ways, thus addressing and adapting to regional variations in ice cream consumption during the festive season,” Mohit underlined.
Havmor also recognises the regional variations in how ice cream is consumed during the festive season and it implements localised strategies to address these specific demands.
“In Gujarat, for example, we are capitalising on the festive fervour with the ‘Havmor Toh Banta Hai’ campaign. This campaign aims to connect with the local audience by acknowledging the significance of genuine, human moments and reinforcing our brand’s connection with them,” Komal said.
Additionally, the brand introduced a digital contest that allows consumers to share their reasons for choosing Havmor during the festive season, with the most creative responses earning the chance to be featured on Havmor billboards in key cities in Gujarat.
These localised initiatives are designed to resonate with regional preferences and festive traditions, boosting the brand’s presence and sales in the region during the festive season.