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The ice cream industry losses and recovery post lockdown
Monday, 15 March, 2021, 12 : 00 PM [IST]
Our Bureau, Mumbai
The ice cream industry has been through a bit of a bad phase last year, as did most of us. While the nation was locked down, many didn’t indulge in the simple pleasure of going out for an ice cream with friends or family. Plus, a spate of misinformation made matters even worse. Fortunately, awareness campaigns run by the Indian Ice Cream Manufacturers’ Association (IICMA) were a great success and the market started to recover. India could no longer resist the temptation of treating itself. The festive season at the end of last year also helped improve the outlook of the ice cream industry as some people started gathering again and celebrating with their families. 

Now, with summer just around the corner, temperatures are already starting to soar across the country, and everyone is looking forward to indulging in their favourite icy treats to cool off. So, news of the ice cream industry being all set for a full comeback in 2021 is music to our ears.

Currently, India’s economy as a whole is showing decisive signs of a 'V-shaped' recovery this year with the return of consumer confidence, robust financial markets, an uptick in manufacturing and exporters braving it out in the global market with a never-say-die spirit, according to a recent report by Assocham. Indeed, the ice cream industry is doing quite well and recovering fast, with an excellent outlook for the coming season.

Even longer projections say the ice cream industry will witness strong growth over the next five years across product categories, flavours and distribution channels. 

The only challenges the industry is facing is regarding the rising prices of milk and milk solids in the market. The IICMA is advising manufacturers to plan their purchase of raw materials and packaging accurately to optimise their funds, and then stick to the plan rigidly. Going forward, it’s essential that they review periodically and fine tune their planning to ensure they are making the most of their resources. 

The Indian Ice Cream Manufacturers’ Association comprises of representatives from across the ice cream industry. It is a platform where companies can share best practices, find resolutions to marketing and manufacturing challenges and much more. The association also works with the government to implement regulations, address grievances and initiate other efforts to represent the best interests of the industry. 

Sudhir Shah, president, IICMA, said, “We all need to be careful this season. There is a lot of opportunity coming our way, but we need to plan effectively to reap the most that we can from it. Now is the time to utilise our existing infrastructure and resources with rigorous efficiency. That is the only way we can come back stronger than ever this season.”

He went on to elaborate that Vivah Muhurth, an auspicious period for marriages, will begin from April onwards. “Targeting the wedding market can be quite beneficial for ice cream manufacturers across the country this year. We must all ensure we have our resources in place to take advantage of it”, said Shah, adding, “At IICMA, we will also keep an eagle eye on the market for any new opportunities that may be worth investing in. If any are found, we will certainly inform the industry on how to make the most of it.”

If the ice cream industry succeeds in harnessing these opportunities and optimises its resources, the future for the industry looks quite bright indeed. Also, with the vaccine drive in India already in full swing, we will all soon be able to meet our friends, colleagues and families like we used to. That in itself is a cause for celebration. We are all looking forward to celebrating and indulging in our favourite deliciously cool treats in the coming months. 
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