Six-year-old Kasish Advani’s first turn as a model was in 2015 after she made it to the Vadilal annual calendar. In the last three years, the Vadilal ice cream brand from Gujarat has put 100 five to 25-year-olds on its annual calendar, one of the initiatives that has enabled it to catch its consumers young.

“Just as ice-creams have ceased to be luxury and have become aspirational, our endeavour has enabled young consumers be pin-up models and aspire for bigger achievements in life,” says Rajesh Gandhi, chairman & managing director of Vadilal Industries which is set to become a Rs 500 crore brand in the current fiscal year.

Vadilal Icecream
Vadilal Icecream

For Vadilal, the second largest ice cream maker in India after Amul with an estimated 14 per cent market share in the Rs 3,500 crore category, the quest for higher-margins began four years ago when it introduced niche products like Juicies, Choco Shot, Dollies and Ice Trooper. Another product Badabite, which claims to be India’s biggest chocolate bar with caramel, cookies and cream, coffee caramel, was a revolution of sorts when it was launched four years back. “When everyone was offering a choco bar for Rs 10-15, we had this gigantic 72 gm product coated with premium chocolate at Rs 35,” says Gandhi. Newer additions to the niche basket include Flingo (cones) and Gourmet (Belgian chocolate in tubs and cups).

At the other end of the spectrum Vadilal is investing heavily in glycol freezers across power deficit markets. “We have supplied ample freezers to our retailers in Bihar and UP to reach rural consumers,” says managing director Devanshu Gandhi. It’s tackling rural India which accounts for approximately 40 per cent of Vadilal’s consumers with Rs 5 vanilla cups.