The ice cream industry has a summer meltdown

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For an industry that typically gets 40 percent of its annual sales during the summer season, the ongoing national lockdown brings doom. Ice cream brands across the country are struggling because of the pandemic situation.

The founder of Kolkata-based Pabrai’s ice cream brand and Indian Ice Cream Manufacturers’ Association (IICMA) official spokesperson Anuvrat Pabrai said that “40 percent a year’s turnover depends upon the sale in the summer months of March, April, May and June and because of the lockdown, it’s gone,”

The COVID-19 induced national lockdown has hit India’s ice cream manufacturers very hard. The industry which is worth around Rs10, 000 crores has suffered as they can’t manufacture and sell according to the market needs. Also, people are within the comfort of their homes are not as affected by the temperature as they used to in the summer months.

 Statista says that in 2019, the sales volume of ice cream and frozen desserts in the Indian packaged foods market was about 519 thousand metric tons (51.90 crore kg). This number will see a sharp fall in 2020.

May is near its end, then comes June before the monsoons take charge. So, 2020 doesn’t bode well for this industry.

But, Shekhar Agarwal who is the head of marketing at Havmor Ice Cream, is optimistic. He says that the relaxation of the lockdown norms and the introduction of Green zones have allowed businesses to restart to somewhat as usual, and it’s a good sign. He, however, points out, “Critical markets, like Gujarat, will be impacted more than most other states.”

Agarwal also said about the unsold inventory and its impact on the revenue. He said that “It is not such a hard challenge because this product has a long shelf life and the consumption has remained strong.”

Talking about the impact on demand as more and more people adopt healthier lifestyles, Agarwal says, “Ice cream is seen as a delight category, and consumers have it for the experience. I don’t see any change in consumer behaviour just because their health aspirations have changed during this period.”

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