Abid Hussain Barlaskar

“Larger freezers in modern refrigerators will drive at-home consumption of ice cream”: Sanjay Sharma, Mother Dairy

As Mother Dairy sets out to tweak consumer behaviour, we break down the brand’s latest ad campaign ‘Khushiyon Ki Parampara’.

Despite a very high category awareness, Indians do not consume a lot of ice cream. To put things into perspective, the average per capita consumption of ice cream in the US is around five litres. In India, it is only around 350 ml.

Sanjay Sharma, business head – value added dairy products, Mother Dairy, tells afaqs! that there are two prime reasons behind the problem.

First, the availability of ice cream has been a major challenge because of the state of electricity (frequent power cuts) and lack of proper cold chain infrastructure. Then, Indians do not store ice cream at homes due to the lack of storage space in the freezer of their refrigerators. Due to storage issues, the consumption tends to be a single day affair, usually on a Saturday or Sunday.

Mother Dairy’s latest ad campaign ‘Khushiyon Ki Parampara’ aims to tweak the consumption pattern of ice cream in India. It closes in on a bunch of very interesting end goals, apart from just driving sales. The outcome could benefit the category as a whole.

The ad film is centred on a family (including kids to grandparent) that gets together daily during the scheduled power cut (at 8 p.m.) to have ice cream. The consumption pattern is positioned as a daily ritual (read parampara), with each going for their own choice of flavour.

Sharma says that the depiction of the particular time slot highlights how families mostly get together after ending their respective day – kids come back after playing in the evening, parents get done with their daily work, etc.

“During the COVID pandemic, we noticed a surge in the in-house consumption of ice cream. Most of our consumers, during and after the pandemic situation, said that they were storing ice cream at home.”

Sanjay Sharma
Sanjay Sharma

The sales of Mother Dairy’s ‘take-home’ packs have gone up, a trend that is likely to continue. Sharma says that another key insight that drove the campaign is that the deep freezers in refrigerators have increased in size and become better in terms of technology over the last several years.

“Earlier, freezers could store only a few other things, apart from the ice trays or non-veg food. Deep freezers make up almost half of today’s refrigerators and can store many other items, like frozen food, etc.”

Home storage, in turn, drives the frequency of consumption, while also increasing the consumption of multiple flavours.

Ice cream sales happen primarily in three segments, impulse/on-the-go (like cones and popsicles), at-home (bricks and tubs), and institutional (for HORECA). The pandemic situation affected both the HORECA and on-the-go consumption.

"At-home consumption has grown well last year, but we want to hold on to that growth."

Sharma says that while on-the-go consumption is picking up pace and HORECA business is yet to show signs of recovery, at-home consumption has really shined. “At-home consumption has grown well last year, but we want to hold on to that growth.”

The organised ice cream market is valued at around Rs 5,500 crore to Rs 6,000 crore. Among the key players are Amul, Kwality Wall's, Mother Dairy, Havmor, Vadilal, Arun, etc. The market is led by Amul, followed by Mother Dairy and Kwality Wall's (HUL).

Sharma says that after the COVID lull, things are gradually looking up. “March (2021) has been phenomenal. We are doing thrice the volume this year in comparison with what we sold in March last year (before the lockdown on March 25). Out-of-home consumption has started and people have started moving out (of their homes).”

Mother Dairy is benchmarking 2019-20, and expects a ‘high double-digit growth’ now. In comparison with pandemic year (2020-21), the company expects to double its growth. It has also expanded its presence in 100 new towns this year.

Apart from the ‘storage’ narrative, Mother Dairy also wants people to order ice cream online. The ad film shows a delivery person handing over packages.

However, unlike most other food items, ice cream requires a cold delivery chain throughout its distribution journey in order to maintain its texture. The last mile cold delivery infrastructure is still a missing link. A problem that the brand is trying to match up with its hyperlocal distribution network.

During lockdowns, Mother Dairy pooled together all its distribution resources, including milk booths, kirana outlets and delivery partners (Swiggy/Zomato) to deliver ice cream. The brand also sold via its own website. The contacts of local retailers are listed on the website and once the order is placed, the delivery is facilitated by the retailer itself.

"Deliveries played an important role but last mile delivery is a huge challenge due to the lack of cold chains."

“The last mile delivery is a huge challenge due to the lack of cold chains. We are looking for solutions. We can make it (ice cream) last for 10-15 minutes in a zipper pouch, but not more than that. Also, our delivery partners have to invest in cold delivery infrastructure.”

“Larger freezers in modern refrigerators will drive at-home consumption of ice cream”: Sanjay Sharma, Mother Dairy

Sharma says that deliveries played an important role in driving business during the pandemic. The product that sold the most was the ‘ice cream cake’. That’s because it is generally stored at (minus) -20 degrees and has to be taken out of the deep freezer around an hour prior to consumption (to get the right taste and texture).

Ice Cream Cake
Ice Cream Cake

The ad also highlights Mother Dairy’s ice cream portfolio and its wide TG (from kids to grandparents). The brand currently has 45 stock-keeping units (SKUs) and is planning to add more this summer.

“Larger freezers in modern refrigerators will drive at-home consumption of ice cream”: Sanjay Sharma, Mother Dairy

Speaking of in-home consumption, Sharma says that the choice of flavours vary in families of 4-6 people. While kids usually prefer chocolate flavour, the elderly ask for a traditional Indian item like kulfi.

“The idea is to offer the complete basket and also depict that on the screen. With the larger storage space, the fridge can now store 2-3 flavours.”

"With the larger storage space, the fridge can now store 2-3 flavours."

While Vanilla (the most affordable flavour) makes up for around half of Mother Dairy’s ‘take-home’ ice cream business, it also acts as the entry flavour for other variants. Over that, the brand’s Indian flavours tend to perform significantly better than the western ones.

The six week-long campaign will also be showcased across print, digital and outdoor mediums.

Campaign credits:
Brand Credits:

• Randhir Kumar, general manager, Marketing, Mother Dairy

• Piyasha Bharadwaj, manager, Marketing, Mother Dairy

Agency Credits:

• Ritu Sharda, CCO, Ogilvy India (North)

• Pawan Bhatt, executive vice president, Ogilvy India

Production Credits:

• Director - Shoojit Sircar

• Production House - Rising Sun Films

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