Cream Bell ice creams, the Rs 500 crore Ravi Jaipuria-led (RJ Corp) company, is eyeing for expansion in western Indian markets such as the Gujarat, which is one of the key markets for ice creams in India. It is also working on to introduce innovative and premium products in the market to capitalise on increasing acceptance of such items in the country.
Cream Bell, which started operation in 2003, is the fifth largest company in the sector with a strong foothold in the north and eastern markets, which accounts for 40 percent of its sales. And to increase its reach it has added 12,000 selling points and entered the market in Gujarat this year. “We have launched in Ahmedabad in March and preparing to enter in Baroda and Surat soon. Gujarat is considered as the ‘Mecca’ of ice creams in India. However, since all the major established player were present in there, we could decide to enter the state after three years of deliberations”, Nitin Arora chief executive of Cream Bell said.
The company was holding back the decision to increase penetration in western markets since it does not have a localised production unit in that part of the country. “After entering Gujarat we are present in all the Indian states except Kerala and Tamil Nadu”, Arora added. One of the three production units are located in the southern Indian state of Goa which caters to markets in Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka. While, the ice cream maker entered West Bengal in 2013, it remains to be a dominant player in central and western Uttar Pradesh where its “flagship” plant is situated. Another factor that remains to be a barrier for the company in venturing in to new territories is the dismal state of power supply situation in in those regions. “We are currently present in 240-250 towns across the year. And focusing on increasing our penetration in those towns”, Arora said. Cream Bell plans to add 15,000 selling points in 2016 with its current strength of 78,000 selling units.
Cream Bell, apart from focusing on its presence, is also working on to bring in innovative product in the market. While, it has launched 14 new variants this year, during the festive season Cream Bell is adding introducing five innovative products. “We want to be a full-range player, unlike many others who launched their separate brands for premium products”, Arora said. “Consumers are opting for premium products now and we will be introducing 15 to 20 new products every year”, he added. Cream Bell ventured in to the premium category two years ago with its 125 ml. cups priced at Rs 50. And although a subdued summer has forced the company to cut its revenue estimates for FY2016, Arora is confident of growing by 15-16 percent to finish the year at Rs 580 crore from Rs 500 crore a year ago.