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HUL to take Magnum ice-cream national

Viveat Susan Pinto  |  Mumbai 

Soon, consumers will get a taste of the world's largest stick ice-cream at their nearest modern-trade or high-end grocery store. Hindustan Unilever Ltd (HUL), India's largest fast-moving consumer goods company (FMCG), proposes to roll out its Magnum brand ice-creams, currently available only in Chennai, across the country.

R Sridhar, chief financial officer of HUL, told Business Standard the roll-out would happen this year. However, he didn't indicate a specific timeline. Magnum, a key brand in Unilever's global ice-cream portfolio, accounts for two per cent of the Anglo-Dutch company's revenue. In India, it is positioned as a premium product, priced at about Rs 75 a stick. Despite the fact that it is priced well above regular ice-cream sticks (Rs 5-50), Sridhar says, "The response to Magnum has been good in the Chennai market so far." Magnum is available in modern-trade, high-end grocery stores and supermarkets, as well as HUL's Swirls ice-cream parlours in Chennai. The brand was launched in Chennai in April 2013.

FMCG analysts, however, say the road ahead for Magnum might not be easy, considering the presence of well-established and competitive companies, such as Amul, Mother Dairy and Vadilal in the Rs 2,000-crore ice-cream market in India.

Unilever is the world's largest ice-cream maker, with products such as Cornetto, Breyers and Ben & Jerry's being retailed under its Heartbrand range. In India, the company's products are available under the Kwality Walls range.

Amul, which accounts for 40-45 per cent of the organised ice cream market in India, has managed to maintain its lead over rivals, owing to aggressive pricing, distribution and launches. Analysts say Magnum’s roll-out is expected to trigger a spate of launches in the premium ice cream market.

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First Published: Thu, January 30 2014. 00:08 IST