Snowberry foraying into Indian market with $50 bn investment

December 14th, 2008 - 4:49 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Dec 14 (IANS) Unperturbed by the economic slowdown, the US-based ice cream maker Snowberry USA Inc is entering the $200-million Indian ice cream market with a planned investment of $50 million, a top official has said.The company, famous for its low fat Yogurt ice cream has formed an Indian entity, Snowberry India Ltd, to carry out its Indian operations. The investment will be made in a phased manner by 2010, said Snowberry USA president Robert F. Barker.

“India is one of the key markets for Snowberry in its global expansion agenda… In the year 2009, our intention is to take brand Snowberry to India, China and few other countries,” Barker told IANS.

Despite the global downturn, Barker remained optimistic about the India foray. “Though it is a time when other companies are going through a hard time, it is our opportunity to get into new markets,” Barker said.

However, Paul Thachil, chief executive (dairy and foods) of diary products giant Mother Dairy believes Snowberry’s India foray “will not be a cakewalk”.

“For the ice cream businesses to flourish in India, a number of parameters have to be met. Firstly, one has to understand the depth of consumption in different regions,” Thachil told IANS.

Secondly, investments in refrigeration facilities for proper storage of food need to be done, he added.

The country needs to have sufficient retail players, who will invest in the storage facility, thereby catalysing the market and helping its growth.

“The problem of power shortage is another hurdle. States where there are power outages for more than two hours are fatal for the processing industry,” Thachil said.

However, Snowberry officials said the company will set up 50 stores in its first phase of expansion. Out of this, four stores will be 1,000-square-feet, small format stores and the rest will be kiosks in and around the national capital region, Snowberry India vice-president Nitesh Kumar said.

The company will also set up a manufacturing facility in Manesar, Haryana, to cater to the needs of these 50 stores initially. The production capacity will be expanded later according to the company’s expansion.

Snowberry USA’s next stop for expansion would be China followed by South Africa, Philippines and Taiwan.

Snowberry India will initially introduce 20-25 flavours, priced below $1, suiting the Indian tastes. Expensive flavours will be introduced later as the brand gains acceptability.

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