India’s ice cream market was worth Rs 25,000 crore in FY22, according to one estimate. (Stock photo)

Summer scoop: how to get yourself a healthy ice cream treat

Season or reason for this treat doesn’t matter: Indians are willing to pay good money for their frozen flavour

Namrata Kohli | New Delhi

Ice cream is a treat for any season. In the summer, a scoop will help you cool off and in the winter, you can enjoy your favourite slice of hot pie accompanied by ice cream.

India’s ice cream market was worth Rs 25,000 crore in FY22 and it is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13.89 per cent between 2023 and 2028, according to TechSci Research, a market research company. India is one of the fastest-growing ice-cream consumption markets and consumers in its biggest cities will pay for premium brands.

“With improvements in cold chain infrastructure, such as temperature-controlled storage spaces, acquiring qualified operational and servicing people, and increased disposable incomes have enabled Indian consumers to afford premium-quality ice creams, prompting several international ice cream manufacturers to expand their operations in the country,” said a spokesperson for TechSci.

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“Manufacturers have introduced preservative-free, genetically modified organism (GMO)-free, dairy-free, fat free and organic product varieties in response to increased health awareness and lactose intolerance among the people, contributing to market expansion across the country,” said the spokesperson.

A plain vanilla market a decade ago, pun intended, now offers ice creams that contain exotic and innovative flavours: there is shrikhand ice cream and sherbet. Naturals sells tender coconut, Sitaphal, mango, kesar pista ice creams. Dark Divine Chocolate Sensation is among Kwality Walls’ best-selling flavours; Vadilal has Belgian Chocolate, and Mother Dairy’s popular flavours include Mango Marvel and Havmor Choco Brownie.

Flavour of the season

According to Siddhant Kamath, Director at Naturals Ice Cream, “Our main USP is that our ice cream is made from three ingredients: milk, sugar, fruit and that’s all. Being a clean label brand and having transparency has gained people’s trust for decades.”

“People are looking for seasonal and international flavours. As a brand, we always ensure to take inspiration from global trends and adapt to the Indian context,” he said.

“Customers wanting healthier options, such as smaller serving or sugar free, are still a relative minority. Ice cream is still thought of as an indulgence,” says Sumedha Singhal, director of marketing at Nirula’s, a brand which has more than 51 flavours,

Ice cream bricks and tubs—family pack in business parlance—are popular desserts at weddings and parties. Ice cream sticks and cones are convenient for individuals who are tasting flavours.

Ice cream prices for a 300-500 ml serving vary: from Rs 99 for brands like Amul to Rs 700-780 for Häagen-Dazs flavours. At Nirula’s, a scoop of the Classics flavour costs Rs 105 and gourmet Rs 130 The company’s best-selling flavours, like All American banana split, hot chocolate fudge, or badam Kewra, cost between Rs 275 and Rs 350. (See price chart)

Scoopi Café in Dubai serves ‘Black Diamond’ ice cream which is made from fresh vanilla beans and has 23-carat edible gold and saffron and black truffles. This ice cream costs 3000 dirhams, or more than Rs 65,000.

Healthy options

After passing through a hardening tunnel, ice cream cups, cones and tubs are stored in a cold storage at a temperature of –25 to –30°C. The ice cream is then transported in refrigerated trucks that maintain temperatures below -18°C, continuously monitored by supervisors until it reaches the entire vendor/retailer, unloaded, and stored in the freezer. The process of freezing is continued till it is consumed.

Ice creams, a guilty pleasure for many, can be healthy. The sugar can be reduced or substituted with healthy alternatives like honey, dates, or stevia. The ice cream base can be made vegan / dairy-free using frozen fruits. Even the flavour additives used can be healthy and need not be high on calories.

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“There are a couple of ways of making ice creams which could be healthier when compared to what you buy in the market. One of the things is to use lots of fruit—fruit that is naturally thickening like mangoes, cheekus and they would have less ice crystals. Use milk substitutes which could be almond milk, cashew milk, mixed nut milk, oat milk – they also make ice creams tastier, says Kunal Kapur, a chef and restaurateur in Delhi.

Prices of ice creams by major brands (Source: TechSci Research)

Brand Name Price range in Rs (300 -500 ml)
Häagen-Dazs 700-780
Movenpick 600-655
London Dairy 500-600
Cold Stone Creamery 500-555
Baskin Robbins 300-389
Naturals 233-375
New Zealand Naturals 225-275
Kwality Wall’s 229-250
Dinshaw’s 170-200
Cream Bell 169-200
Havmor 150-250
Vadilal Ice Creams 100-219
Mother Dairy 120-150
Amul 99-110

Source: Business Standard

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