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New Delhi: The ice cream market in India is hotting up. Within two weeks after Nestle-owned premium ice cream brand Mövenpick announced its plans to open 50 outlets in India, Arizona-based Cold Stone Creamery, which is known for its fresh handcrafted ice cream Made Fresh, has entered India with a plan to open 40 store across the country over the next five years.

Cold Stone Creamery, a subsidiary of Kahala brands that operates in 1,500 locations in 26 countries, will target the premium segment with prices around 100-150 a scoop, much below Mövenpick and Häagen-Dazs that sell at around 200 a scoop and cater to the super-premium segment. Made Fresh will be in the range of Hindustan Unilever’s Magnum, priced at Rs90 a bar, but priced higher than Baskin Robbins and Gelato Vinto offerings that start around 50-60 for small cups.

As of now, the ice cream market in India is at a nascent stage. Annual per capita consumption of ice cream in India is just around 300ml as compared with about 22,000ml in the US and about 3,000ml in China, according to a study by retail consulting firm Technopak Advisors.

But it is pegged to grow to 6,198 crore in 2019 from 4,160 crore in 2014, according to a study by Euromonitor International released in April. The study did not quantify the size of the premium and super-premium categories.

“Premiumisation was one of the key trends in 2014… driven by ice cream brands such as Magnum, Häagen-Dazs and London Dairy, among others. These brands were extremely niche, and available only in metropolitan cities. Due to increased annual disposable incomes, consumers were more than willing to pay the premium," the Euromonitor study noted.

The overall ice cream market in India is dominated by Amul, a brand owned by the Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation, with a 32% share, according to the study.

Cold Stone Creamery is entering India through its master franchisee UAE-based Tablez Food Co. headed by Shafeena Yusuf Ali, daughter of non-resident Indian billionaire MA Yusuf Ali, the owner of hypermarkets operator Lulu Group International. He was in news recently for buying Great Scotland Yard in London, the headquarters of the Metropolitan Police between 1829 and 1890, for £110 million with a plan to turn it into a luxury hotel.

“We’ll open the first store in November in Kochi where we have the Lulu mall, and then we’ll open the second outlet in Bangalore in six months. We’ll enter Sri Lanka within a year. Over the next five years, we plans to open 40 store in India and five in Sri Lanka," said Safeena.

Over the next five years, Safeena said, the company will spend 75 crore-85 crore to develop Cold Stone Creamery’s presence in India through own stores and franchisee route. Tablez Food also operates Bloomsbury boutique cafes in India. In UAE, the company runs Peppermill, a premium casual restaurant chain, apart from its franchising with London Dairy, Genghis Grill, Famous Dave’s and Sugar Factory. “Over the next few years, we may bring some of the brands to India. We are exploring possibilities," Safeena told Mint. The company will open about 10 Bloomsbury’s and about 20 Galito’s over the next five years across India.

Eddy Jimenez, senior vice-president (international operations and development), Kahala Brands, said Made Fresh is known for its handcrafted fresh ice creams. “We’ll add local flavours in India like we usually do globally, keeping our unique selling propositions unaffected," he added.

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