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‘During the scorching summer months of election season, largescale outdoor gatherings create a prime opportunity for increased consumption in the packaged drinking water category.’

Photograph: Kind courtesy Evelynlo/Pixabay

 

The start of summer, coupled with election heat, seems to be giving a much needed push to sales of ice cream, dairy products, packaged water, and other food items according to initial trends that show sales of deep freezers moving up by 20 per cent ahead.

Since the hot season proper is still to come, these early trends indicate a possible surge in sales of these items in the coming weeks.

The Indian Dairy Association estimates the sales volume of ice creams and other dairy products to rise by 20 per cent.

But when it comes to elections, opinions are divided on whether they are unlikely to add much impetus to the sales.

“For commercial refrigeration products, we are seeing a huge boom,” B Thiagarajan, Managing Director, Blue Star, told Business Standard.

“Deep freezer sales are seeing an increase of 20 per cent so far because ice cream sales are expected to go up due to summer and a big event like an election. It may further go up. Our buyers are large ice cream brands.”

Thiagarajan said similar trends were witnessed during the 2019 election season.

Driven by the rise in demand, Blue Star has now launched a new range of deep freezers varying in capacities from 60 to 600 litres.

The demand is high in bottle freezers too and, once again, the company believes it is linked to more economic activity in the sector during elections.

“In the past too, we have seen that anything to do with food and ice cream consumption goes up during elections,” said Thiagarajan.

Bisleri also expects sales of its packaged water to pick up during the election season.

“During the scorching summer months of election season, largescale outdoor gatherings create a prime opportunity for increased consumption in the packaged drinking water category. We are aligning our manufacturing and distribution systems to gear up to service this demand in real time,” said Angelo George, Bisleri CEO.

However, a distributor who spoke on condition of anonymity said the situation on the ground continues to remain under stress.

The ice cream and dairy sector believes that sales may be up by around 20 per cent because of stable prices and the summer heat.

R S Sodhi, President of the Indian Dairy Association, says he is expecting a 15 to 20 per cent volume increase this season in ice cream and dairy products but does not attribute it at all to the coming general election.

“This is mainly because the industry could not see much volume growth for almost two years because of a 15 per cent surge in prices,” said Sodhi.

“For the last six months, prices have not increased. Because of stable prices, we are expecting a good volume growth in all milk category products in the next six months,” Sodhi added.

At present, the ice cream market in India is pegged at $5.33 billion in terms of revenue and is expected to grow annually by 10.86 per cent between 2024 and 2028, according to a Statista report.

One distributor said that since the heat has just begun in the past week, it may lead to a spike in sales.

Another distributor said that while overall demand for juices continues to remain subdued, the election might lead to a minor spike.

Feature Presentation: Aslam Hunani/Rediff.com

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