Way back in 1944, Satish Chona, a young engineer in Karachi, decided to make and sell ice-cream to supplement his regular day job. Little did he know that 70 years later, he would have laid the foundation for India’s fastest growing homegrown ice-cream company called Havmor.
Things changed after partition, when Chona and his family moved base to Ahmedabad, Gujarat, making Havmor a household name that was loved by the locals. In the 1990s his son Pradeep Chona expanded the brand across Gujarat, and third generation Ankit Chona took it across the country.
Currently, Havmor is in the second place in the battle to win the country’s largest ice cream maker position, after Amul. Available at over 40,000 locations, Havmor was taken over by the South Korean major Lotte Confectionery in 2017. And since then there has been no looking back.
What sets Havmor apart is its range of desserts such as roll cuts, ice cream cakes and other cool novelties. Besides range, quality and innovation too play supporting roles says Anindya Dutta, Managing Director, Havmor.
The Indian ice-cream market has a proliferation of frozen desserts, and consumers may not be aware of the difference. According to the definition of milk and milk products under the Prevention of Food Adulteration Rules, 1955, to qualify as an ice-cream, a product has to have 10 per cent or more of milk fat. Frozen desserts, on the other hand, contain vegetable fat. Havmor has both ice-creams and frozen desserts (ice-lollies for instance).
“The milk, chocolate and nuts for ice cream are locally sourced,” informs Nitesh Mathur, Vice President, Operations who gave us a tour of the Ahmedabad factory. Dutta shares that Havmor uses vegetarian and egg-free stabilizers and emulsifiers, and is now planning to to introduce vegan ice creams.
In 2014, the factory started making its own chocolate. In an attempt to minimise its carbon footprint, Havmor has embraced green practices such as the use of solar energy and biogas.
Involving the Consumer
To involve consumers in designing new flavours, Havmor has floated a "Coolest Summer Job" campaign. "Consumers can send us their video entries, and 10 winners are brought to the factory to create new flavours and work closely with experts," shares Dutta, of the three-year-old campaign. The winners are given the title of Chief Tasting Officers (CTO) and the goal is to help the brand develop new flavours.
This year Havmor tied up with Saransh Goila of Goila Butter Chicken to mentor the CTOs in the nuances of ice cream making. “Havmor ice creams are well-balanced: sweet but not cloying, flavorful but not overwhelming.” This year, 10 finalists were selected from various fields and cities, and tasked to come up new innovative flavours. Expect newer ice cream flavours by February 2020.
In the previous seasons, the winners created new ice-cream flavours such as the Chai Biscuit, Jal Jeera, Mojito, Rose Petal Punch, Fruit Custard and Fruit Punch. Goila's personal favourite is the Jal Jeera ice-candy, he tells us.
Not Just Ice Cream
In 1960s the brand started a couple of restaurants in Ahmedabad, which has now grown to 20 restaurants, 60 eateries and more than 200 ice cream parlours. The Huber & Holly boutiques, in Ahmedabad, Mumbai and Hyderabad serves the Mighty Midas, a premium dessert costing for ₹1,000 per serving. What you get for that steep price are ice-creams freshly churned before you, innovative ice-cream-cakes and desserts.
With 160 kinds of ice creams now found in 14 states of India, Havmor stays close to the Indian palate, offering its consumers the entire spectrum of ice cream, from bite-sized ice-cream lollipops costing ₹5 to the ₹1000 Mighty Midas. Take your pick!