Facing a stagnant market, Kwality Walls, the Rs 200 crore ice cream brand of Hindustan Lever, is bringing in the low fat ice cream of Unilever.
Already soft launched in Bangalore, this variant dubbed Lite will be rolled out across the country in January-March next.
Milind Pant, marketing manager, HLL, ice cream division said that Kwality Walls is awaiting government clearance to launch other variants like artificial sweeteners and fruit pulp-based ice creams.
He added that Kwality Walls will not position it in the diet category though. The pricing and tastes will be similar to the existing Walls ice creams.
The launch of low fat variants by Kwality Walls follows similar but unsuccessful attempts by its rivals. Also, this comes at a time when Kwality Walls by itself is staring at annual volumes stagnating at 15 million litres.
The idea is to address not just that, but also the Indian per capita consumption of ice cream now pegged at just 250 ml, compared to 22 lt in USA and between one to three litres in South East Asia.
Pant said that HLL targets this variant to contribute to a fifth of the take home ice-creams and in line with that, it has tied-up with Pizza Corner for home deliveries. According to an AC Nielsen’s study, the take home segment accounts for about 40 per cent of ice cream market.
A worldwide success for Unilever, this low fat ice cream was launched across several developing economies in Latin America last year. The success of the variant there has pushed HLL to adopt this strategy to grow the market in India as well.
Leaning on global experience, the company is shifting its promotions to ‘word of mouth’. HLL will put in 80 per cent of the budgeted ad spend on direct referrals by marketing samples at top corporates like Wipro campus, ITPL and IBM and high-end residential areas.
This is primarily to give customers a first hand experience of the radical products.
Traditionally ice cream firms spent 5 per cent to 10 per cent of their revenues towards marketing. While ad spend details was unavailable, market players said that Kwality Walls’ promotion will be in excess of Rs 20 crore and primarily towards marketing the Lite concept.