US-headquartered Mini Melts the $200 million INC 500 company has tied up with Bangalore-based HoneyBee Amusements for a foray in to India’s Rs 2,500 crore organized ice-cream market. The domestic ice-cream sales, growing at 18-20%, has seen the entry of super premium international players such as Haagen-Dazs in the recent past.The local partner of Mini Melts would invest $16 million to develop the business in three years. The 20-year-old ice-cream manufacturer, which operates in over 20 countries across the world, differentiates itself from other international premium players by manufacturing ice-creams using liquid nitrogen, an ingredient used by chefs in molecular gastronomy. Liquid nitrogen is inert and tasteless.
Mini Melts would set up kiosks in high footfall locations and kids cafes to gain a toehold in the local market, said Shoeab Salim, MD, HoneyBee Amusements. HoneyBee Amusements, owners of Q Cinemas and developers of the Delhi Eye are the sole franchisee for Mini Melts in India as well as neighbouring countries such as Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Bangladesh. The Rs 100 crore entertainment group has set-up a 10,000 sqft ice-cream manufacturing facility in Bangalore, with an installed capacity to churn out 6 lakh cups (three ounce each) of ice-creams per year. A report by research firm Euromonitor International states that ice-cream was amongst the fastest-growing product categories in packaged foods in 2012. As per Euromonitor International, Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation has a 31% market share of the ice-cream market followed by Hindustan Unilever’s brand Kwality Wall’s, which has 20% market share. “By 2015, we hope to capture 10% of the ice-cream market,” said Salim.
“The manufacturing facility has helped us reduce costs by 70% to 80%, which allows us to price such a premium product 10% less than competing products in the market,” said Salim. A three-ounce cup of ice-cream is being priced at Rs 40 plus taxes, while a eight ounce cup of ice-cream is priced at Rs 60 plus taxes.