Summer arrives, temperatures rise and the demand for products like ice-cream, cold beverages and frozen desserts rises as well. Keeping this seasonal surge in consideration, Omoré (Engro Foods’ ice-cream and frozen desserts division) launched three new flavours in the first quarter of 2017; namely Injeer (in February) and Kairi and Candi (in March).
For context, the volume of the branded ice-cream and frozen dessert segment (referring to packaged ice-cream sold in different formats at various stores and outlets) is estimated at approximately 90 million litres. The biggest player in branded ice-cream is Wall’s (Unilever), leading with a 60% market share, followed by Omoré at about 30%, with the rest accounting for about 10% (they include Gourmet, Hico, Igloo and Yummy; their strength is mostly regional). Although Unilever leads by a significant margin, Engro Foods’ frozen desserts and ice-cream segment is gradually catching up, and registered a revenue of approximately Rs 3.66 billion in 2016 – a growth of five percent compared to 2015 (source: Engro Foods Annual Report 2016).
This was largely due to frequent innovations, launches of new flavours and brand-building activities. According to Mir Owais Alam, Marketing Manager (Omoré), Engro Foods, the brand doesn’t want to “compete with other players merely on the basis of market share; we want to work on our perception and the quality we deliver to the consumer. One way to do this is to constantly innovate and introduce new flavours to the table and this is the reason why we launched Injeer, Kairi and Candi this year. These are flavours that have never been launched by the branded segment in Pakistan before.”
Talking about Injeer (Urdu for fig), Alam says the idea to launch this flavour stemmed from the success of Omoré’s previous desi flavours like Kulfa.
“We realised that there is a lot of potential in dry fruit-flavoured ice-creams,” Alam says, adding that while every brand has mango, pineapple and strawberry-flavoured ice-creams in their portfolio, ‘eastern’ flavours such as kajoo (cashew), peanut and date have not really been explored. Yet, the demand for these flavours at unbranded ice-cream parlours (think Baloch and Peshawari ice-cream) is an indication that there is scope for these flavours in the branded market. Based on this insight, Omoré conducted test trials of several dry fruit flavours and injeer was the preferred choice.
Given that injeer is generally not as readily liked by children (they prefer more regular flavours), the ice-cream targets adults and is available only in a multi-serve brick format (800 ml for Rs 190), which is usually consumed by families.
Kairi and Candi, however, aim to attract a younger audience. Kairi (green or raw mango), a water-based ice lolly, is priced at Rs 15 and available in stick format (38 ml). According to Alam, Kairi is a different take on the regular mango ice-cream consumption that summers bring. He adds that, to his knowledge, this is the first time a kairi-flavoured frozen dessert has been launched in the market and the idea was to make use of this seasonal fruit in an innovative way.
Candi is a co-creation with Continental Biscuits Limited (CBL) and this is the first time Omoré has collaborated with CBL. According to Alam, CBL is a “very progressive organisation with a superb assortment of biscuits.” The ice-cream is available in a stick format (55 ml) and priced at Rs 20. Alam adds that if Candi proves a hit with consumers, Omoré will definitely “explore this collaboration route a little more.”
Building on each flavour’s perceived image, the products’ packaging is designed accordingly. Injeer has “purple as the dominant colour to give a royal, poetic feel.” Kairi, with its spunky and fun-loving brand association, has a burst of green which is associated with freshness, energy and youth, and Candi, with its cream-coloured packaging, highlights the rich texture associated with the product.
All three flavours are marketed via POS and only Injeer has a TVC, which is scheduled to air on all major channels until Ramazan starts and then resume after Eid.
The success of these flavours will depend on two main factors. First, on quality and taste, which according to Alam, has always been Omoré’s strength, and second, on the distribution at big and small retail outlets. Ice-cream is a quick, fickle and an impulse-driven product and non-availability results in customers choosing a competitor product. A key challenge in this regard is the availability of electricity, which directly impacts ice-cream and frozen desserts sales.