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Ice cream business owners forced to throw expired goods but no compensation
Thursday, 01 October, 2020, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Kimberley Fernandes, Mumbai
The ice cream industry in India has shown varying trends in light of the global pandemic. Big brands have adopted new strategies with their marketing mix, while others are struggling to catch up with the new normal.

According to experts in the field, the ice cream market in India is anticipated to grow by a significantly high CAGR of 13.22 per cent over the forecast period from 2020-2027. It is further estimated to reach a market value of US$ 2,401.68 million by the end of this period.

While adepts can analyse the growth of the industry, local vendors and distributors face extreme challenges to stay afloat due to zero revenue for extended periods of time on account of the lockdown and quarantine.
Jitendra Kantilal Mehta, founder, Ami ice cream, said, “Covid-19 has brought about a lot of cut throat competition among big wigs in the market. Few manufacturers are ignoring quality and giving sub-standard products which ultimately lead to them losing credibility with the consumer. Standard product manufacturers are pushing their sales by giving such schemes which only MNCs or co-operative companies like Amul and Mother Dairy can afford. Due to lockdown, HoReCa businesses suffered huge losses. Several distributors had to throw away goods as they have passed expiration date while still paying related bills and taxes.”

Shuchi Tandon, owner, Ganpati Traders, said, “I have a distributorship of FMCG, among which Amul and Mother Dairy ice creams are the most important products from these companies. We have a cold room of nearly 1,000 cubic feet, before lockdown everything was going well with demand and supply of ice cream as well as frozen desserts but from the past few months, all our food products were stuck and have passed their expiration date. The companies didn’t compensate us even though we paid various bills and taxes for these goods.”

Another serious problem related to health and hygiene during the ongoing pandemic is misguided information about the spread of the virus. Many local ice cream manufacturers, distributors and business owners have suffered huge losses due to consumers relying on non-scientific based information freely available on the Internet.

“Due to Covid-19, people are reluctant to buy ice cream fearing they will catch cough and pneumonia which are false rumours spread online,” stated Mehta of Ami.

“During lockdown, people also stopped buying ice creams as many rumours and lies were being circulated on the Internet about falling ill and testing positive for the coronavirus by eating ice cream and frozen desserts,” informed Tandon of Ganpati Traders.

However, the Indian Ice Cream Manufacturers Association (IICMA) and the Indian government have addressed online rumours regarding consumption of ice cream or frozen desserts being related to the spread of coronavirus by pointing out that the World Health Organization (WHO) has stated that there is no scientific evidence to suggest that eating a hygienically-made ice cream or frozen dessert could lead to a spread of the virus.
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