Natural Ice cream, the Mumbai-based manufacturer and retailer of ice-creams made out of fresh fruit pulp and dry fruits, is set to strengthen its technological upgrade with the launch of an interactive application by end of this year.
Speaking exclusively to Indiaretailing, Srinivas Kamath, Director of Natural Ice cream said, “The idea is not to create a conevntional app where customers can order ice-creams or browse through our flavours. We are looking at creating an interactive platform for consumers, that would provide a mix of utility and information in a few clicks.”
“Though development is in a very early stage, we will be able to come up with the application by end of this year or early next year,” Kamath added.
The company began its operations as a 300 sq ft ice-cream parlour at Juhu, Mumbai in 1984 and currently has 120 outlets across the West and South of India. The chain also entered Delhi last outlet with the city’s first outlet opening in December 2014.
NatureIce Cream was also awarded the trophy for the ‘IMAGES Most Admired Foodservice Chain of the Year: Ice-creams & Dessert Parlours’ at the Coca Cola Golden Spoon Awards 2015 ceremony held in January this year.
The ice cream market in India is estimated to be around INR 2,000 crores, of which over 40% belongs to the organised sector growing at about 15% YoY. Amul leads the pack with about 36-38% market share, followed by Kwality Walls and Vadilal with about 12-14% share each.
However, the per capita consumption of ice creams in India is low compared to many markets; about 300ml per annum, 1.4% of that in US, and 13% of the world average. One primary reason is the seasonal nature of ice cream consumption in India, especially in the northern states. Bulk of the sales happen during the summer months of April-July, and dip sharply in the October to February period. Power supply bottlenecks — especially in small towns and villages — also impact supply and sales since retailers prefer not stocking highly-perishable ice-cream products.
In addition to premium international brands such as Haagen Dazs and Baskin Robbins, and brands such as Kwality Walls selling off carts, only a handful operate their own chains, including QSR chain Nirula’s, a popular choice in the north, and Vadilal and Natural in the west.