Hi-Tech Automation–Spinning Wheels of Indian Ice Cream Industry

 

Food processing industry is one of the largest industries in India and ranked 5th in terms of production and export. The total size of Indian food processing industry is expected to reach around USD 380 billion by 2019. In gearing food industry ice cream is regularly gaining momentum enveloped thousands of flavour with in it. The market in the presence of many national and multinational brands touched the milestone of 12000 crores and hoping a strong CGAR in coming years.

Sunil Jain- MD, Shanti Engineers noted that the ice cream industry in India is fastest-growing segment not only in dairy but over all food processing industry.  “Ice cream industry has great potential for growth in India with improved cold chain infrastructure, changing lifestyle, changing taste, growing appetite for ice cream, growing incomes, etc… If we go in facts n figures, India generated US$ 1.5bn last year and expected to generate over US$3.4bn by 2021”, he urged.

PWS Engineers Director Pathik Panchal too thinks that the ice cream industry has gained momentum during the decade. “We personally feel that the ice cream industry is a type of market which is growing very steadily and with a constant pace. There are many sectors in Indian food industry whose fashion might come and go with decades, but the ice cream industry will always grow  and there is a lot more to come” said he.

The ice cream business is indeed amazing and exclusive, as though the product is highly perishable; the whole process is fast and smooth. Right from the stage of production to the ultimate delivery to the consumer; it needs to be kept, stored, and transported in frozen condition. Firstly, to make an ice cream there is need for good, efficient machinery that will give the best results. The installation of machinery and equipment by imports from USA, Europe, UK, and cold storerooms construction that maintain the mandatory refrigeration temperature for stored product are the basic essential requirements needed for those in this line of business. Well experienced, trained staff is also necessary for operation and maintenance of all the machinery and equipment.

The supporting industries for manufacturing the equipment for production and marketing of ice-cream in the country are in the nascent stage. It will take time to develop and hence there are imports of machinery from Europe/USA. One major drawback for these manufacturers is the customs duty in India levied, along with excise duties claimed on certain equipment and composite machinery.

Praveen Kommareddy, Director- HyperpackPvt Ltd. emphasized that the ice cream industry is booming but still there is challenge to adopt changing transformation in terms of equipment as most of the industry is unorganised. However he accepts that with ongoing advancements industry will surely drive to a position  with better branding of the products, growth possibilities in interior India, far-wide advertising and brand exposure through media.

 

Today modular machines quickly help to integrate the required additional equipment. Automatic technique management with continuous flow of information and connection to the control system provides for highly automated production processes, regardless of the product/industry. Machines are equipped with sensors, radio modules, and measuring instruments.

 

Indian Ice Cream Industry Scenario
The Indian ice cream industry is one of the fastest-growing segments in the dairy or food processing industry. From Rs 9,000 crore in 2016, the ice cream category has jumped to Rs 14,000 crore in 2017. Country is the fastest growing ice-cream consumption market in the world followed by Vietnam and Indonesia. According to recent reports, India’s ice-cream market has registered a compounded annual growth rate of 13 per cent in the last five years.

In 2017, volume sales in India are set to overtake those of more established markets, including the UK. Ice cream sales in India, according to the report, are expected to reach 397.8 million litres in 2018 and as much as 657.2 million litres in 2021.

The action in the ice-cream market has clearly shifted to Asia. India’s strong CAGR is closely followed by Indonesia (11 per cent), Vietnam (9 per cent, Turkey (9 per cent) and Malaysia (8 per cent). Volume sales of ice cream in countries such as Switzerland has dipped to -3 per cent over the past five years, followed by Thailand (- 2 per cent), Denmark (-2 per cent), UK (-2 per cent) and the US (-1 per cent).

China is currently the world’s biggest ice cream market, with estimated sales of 4.3 billion litres in 2016, followed by the US (2.7 billion litres) and Japan (756 million litres). However, in terms of individual ice cream consumption, the Norwegians are the biggest ice cream eaters, consuming 9.8 litres per capita in 2016, followed by Australia (9.4 litres) and Sweden (8.9 litres).

Global ice cream equipment market
Ice cream machine is a machine used to make quantities of ice cream for consumption. Ice cream machine may prepare the mixture by employing the hand-cranking method or by employing an electric motor. The resulting preparation is often chilled through either pre-cooling the machine or by employing a machine that freezes the mixture.

An ice cream machine has to simultaneously freeze the mixture while churning it so as to aerate the mixture and avoid ice crystals. As a result, most ice creams are ready to consume immediately. However, those containing alcohol must often be chilled further to attain a firm consistency. Some machines, such as certain lower-priced countertop models, do require that the resulting mixture be frozen for additional time after churning is complete.

The Worldwide ice cream machine market is well diversified across China, APAC, Europe and Other region. China has the highest sale market share and dominates the Ice Cream Machines market with revenue of 25.60%. USA is the next big market following China. The growth of Ice Cream Machine business is expected to grow at a moderate pace. Europe’s share in the market is declined during 2011 to 2016 from 19.13% to 18.29%. The other markets including APAC, the Middle East and Africa, and Latin America account for the remaining market share.

The ice cream machine industry is characterized by several large international suppliers and many smaller suppliers. The top three largest operators account for about 68.44% of global volume in 2015. Key market players include TAYLOR, Tetra Pak, Gram Equipment, Electro Freeze, CARPIGIANI, Tekno-Ice.

The market is not only influenced by the price, but also influenced by the product performance. The leading companies own the advantages on better performance, more abundant product’s types, better technical and impeccable after-sales service. Consequently, they take the majority of the market share of high-end market.

The global Ice Cream Machine market is valued at 1020 million US$ in 2017 and will reach 1330 million US$ by the end of 2025, growing at a CAGR of 3.4% during 2018-2025.

Domestic machine manufacturers in dilemma?

With increasing consumption patterns the ice cream industry saw a lot of advancements during the decade. The consumption pattern is changing, and to cater the growing demand, it is likely that the industry players will need high capacity machinery. With the big market size, the Indian manufacturers are expanding their business to cater the growing demand.” The expansion in the production capacity will eventually give rise to the demand for high capacity and efficient machinery in Indian market.

Almost all international giants of ice cream machine manufacturers have marked their presence in India. Eyeing the regular growth of industry it is expected that India will be biggest market for ice cream equipment in coming years. But when we look the second side of coin we saw that domestic machine manufacturing market is dipping. Customers of ice cream machinery today are demanding products, which use latest technology, offer high processing capacity and meet the international standards of hygiene and quality. Obviously, all these would come at an increased cost, which the customers are willing to pay, provided machinery manufacturers provide cost benefit analysis details, assured return on investment shorter pay-back periods for the latest machines over the conventional ones. Domestic manufacturers are somewhere lacking these criteria.

Accepting technological transformation during a decade in ice cream equipment industry,Hyperpack director noted that domestic machine manufacturers are lacking by their end. “Advancements and automation are need of the hour still domestic manufacturers have surely not adapted transformation. Their manufacturing technique is the same old one. When the producer sees that his business matters more, he opts to purchase imported machines for perfection”, said Praveen Kommareddy.

Supporting Praveen, Shanti Engineers director Sunil Jain too believe that the domestic equipment industry is in nascent stage as the innovation is still lacking. Eyeing the dipping domestic market he said that government needs to make clear simple policies and needs to support domestic manufacturing industry so that manufacturing can be cost effective. Quality improvising is needed, lacking of innovative skills leads one to import, he added.

Other reason behind such advancements is some-where the easy availability of ice cream machines in India. Companies like PWS Engineers, Shanti Engineering, Kap Cones, TertraPak and Hyper Pack are providing processing and packaging machines of international standards. Even other domestic machine manufacturers are working to improve their quality.

Pathik Panchal too thinks that currently ice cream industry is mostly depends on imported machines. “We believe that dependency of imported machines will be reduced if the numbers of domestic manufacturers increase along with increase in the quality of their products while adopting constant technological upgradation! In case of ice cream packaging industry, we are in this field since mid-1900’s and we have been successful to bring new technologies in this industry, even where the imported machines were not in use in India. Thus we can say that yes, we are an appropriate option against imported machines in India”, said Panchal.

However domestic machinery brands are working on new innovative ideas to compete with international giants and upcoming IICE 2018 in Chennai will be a big platform to showcase their efforts. It is believed that IICE is a biggest cradle of industry’s annual growth.

Time for change

Today’s ice cream manufacturing and packaging is much modernised, and the efficiency bar has been raised much higher. Automation has taken over where humans were once commonplace. Industry decision-makers know that plant systems must constantly evolve to meet consumer requirements/demands. This means upgrading existing equipment or purchasing new equipment.

Talking about Prime Minister Modi’s dream project ‘MAKE IN INDIA’ the results are still to be seen. Though the scheme has created a lot of interest in the industry but the benefit of this is still to be realised. Government on its part should take initiatives to encourage the domestic ice cream equipment market to give them international platform.

PWS director urged that the  only  mantra  that  we  believe  is  to  build  quality  machines  with  maximum  working  efficiency,  low maintenance, low working cost, user friendly and minimal wear and tear. The quality of the machine will justify its cost which will be definitely lot more worthy than imported ones.

Commenting on the issue Sunil Jain suggested government support, improved quality, cost effective, innovations,technical support, meeting the demands, low maintenance, etc. factors can change perception of people which can lead to acceptance of domestic machineries.  However, he said that we manufacture machines which are equally good if compared to imported one.

To compete with international brands innovation is required along with the government support. Though there are many schemes but results are still to be seen on floor. Hyperpack MD commented that domestic machines need complete renovation to meet growing demand for quality, consistency and modernization, which will drive domestic machine manufacturers to meet the demands. Thus, to increase sales of domestically made machines manufacturers must pay more attention to the quality and accuracy and match the same with imported ones. Government should levy import duties accordingly and promote Indian made machines, he said.

Better Options

Along with flavour, consumption patterns of ice cream are also changing. With the presence of international brands domestic ice cream giants are also opting the same. With the changing aspects consumers are wooing for bucket and tubs packaging which has given a new momentum to ice cream packaging.

At home, you usually eat it out of a ceramic bowl; however, when you go out for ice cream, you always seem to find yourself facing the cone versus cup dilemma. Since you’re used to eating out of a bowl at home, you’re inclined to do the same at the ice cream parlor.

Regarding the new packaging options Ice Cream Times talked to machinery manufacturers/ suppliers about the new packaging options they would like to bring similar to western countries.

Hyperpack’s Praveen believes that alternative packaging are still fragile to grow and industry can only understand this in coming times. “We, as a food packaging manufacturer, are exploring new dimensions and possibilities. But these findings will remain close to existing shapes options”, said he.

Sunil Jain,too searching new ideas of eco-friendly packaging. “I would go with paper cups and other packaging made out of paper or bamboo, which doesn’t harm our health, mother earth, animals or ocean like plastic does”, he said.

However, PWS Engineers have quitediffered views. “Well at this point we cannot say that the cups and cones are being outdated but yes, the material and especially packaging of both cups and cones are at a stage of a big turning point. It is being focused on more hygiene and more aesthetics. For example, the ice cream cups with paper lids are being replaced by the good quality IML cups with snap on lids. In case of cones also, there will be a time when paper lids will be replaced by other material which will provide more hygienic packaging, the paper cartons might be replaced by tubs and many more. And PWS has already adopted this changes one step ahead and is leading on its way to supply packing machines that can handle the upcoming packaging material” , said MD of the company.

Efficient machines

Food safety is everybody’s concern and it is difficult to find anyone who has not encountered an unpleasant moment of foodborne illness at least once in the past year. While some foodborne diseases may be self-limiting, some can be very serious. Ensuring food safety has become increasingly important in context of changing food habits, popularization of mass catering establishment and globalization of our food supply. However hygienic conditions are improving and as the ice cream industry is touching the interior areas of the country the safety of products will be the big challenge for its manufacturers.

 

With the growing hygienic awareness in food industry machinery makers are also loading their machine with safety standards. X-Rays, CIP and other safety procedures are now available in country made ice cream machines. Pathik told that “PWS is definitely taking the Hygiene at higher priorities since start. For this, our all machines are with interlocks for all functions which keeps the machine hygienic during operation. “Our systems are also designed to pack the product with hygiene. Plus the food grade materials that we use to build the product contact parts are of latest technology. And we always have our eyes open for any chances of upgradation. Our machines are CIP suitable as well” he added.

 

Machines featuring hygienic design in the industry are constantly being optimized to make them as easy to clean as possible. But the increasing variety and consequent frequent change in products often mean there are downtimes for cleaning purposes. CIP processes (Cleaning in Place) i.e. cleaning without having to dismantle the machine are being continuously developed to prevent unnecessarily elaborate cleaning processes while still ensuring utmost safety is provided. CIP sensors indicate when cleaning is required; this mainly conserves water, cleaning agents, and energy. In turn, this protects the environment, lowers costs, reduces downtimes, and increases the level of efficiency without any compromise on safety. Traceability is also possible with the data being saved in the control systems and the operating data collection can be used to track the whole process.

 

Talking about the safety procedures to be followed in ice cream machinery Sandeep Jain firmly said that it is our moral and legal obligations to provide machines with well-developed CIP system and operators’ obligation to maintain it. He told that Shanti engineer’s machines have been made in such a way that it can be cleaned and sanitized daily. “As milk is involved in production, which gets fouled quickly each and every part and pipeline needs to be cleaned daily. Our machines have automatic cleaning option and installation team gives proper training to meet this need of hygiene and cleaning in place”, said Jain.

Automation in Interior Areas  

Increasing urbanisation, lifestyle changes, great affluence and taste consciousness among youth are driving demand for premium ice creams. With the changing consumption patterns, ice cream manufacturers in interior areas of country are now adopting the trend of tier 2 cities. Earlier in our villages we use to see ice cream vendor on a cycle but now taking the advantage of technological transformation even the most rural areas ice cream vendors are equipped with advanced carts.

Not only in sales but there are a lot of advancements in processing also. To give mouth-watering flavours as like domestic giants these manufacturers are now equipped with high capacity machines along with candy lines, freezers, chillers and better packaging options. The potential for growth of this industry is huge and what is being witnessed is just the tip of an iceberg.

Pathik thinks that this is big opportunity for equipment manufacturers/ suppliers as the ice cream manufacturers of interior areas of country are shifting from manual to automation phase. He told that to cater such demands PWS have series of semi-automatic as well as automatic solutions suitable for growing clients. “There are chances that the ice cream manufacturers from the interior areas might not be exposed to the information about which capacity of machines shall they buy and many other factors, as automation field is new for them. So we consult them in correct way for which models are best suitable keeping in consideration their investments and their requirements”, he said.

Having the same views Praveen Kommareddy said that automation is now the need of industry. Focusing on the shifting of manufacturers from manual to automation  in interior areas he said that now to maintain profit in such competitive market it is needed, as automatic phase require lesser manpower and no-touch of human hands at any stage of manufacturing. He further said that with automation it becomes easier for the manufacturer to meet the growing demand without having back log with easier and timely transport.

 

Pacific Engineers too thinks that automation has given a boon to ice cream industry with the latest innovation in its lap. Sandeep Jain said that automatic phase has resulted in decrease manpower, increase in production, consistency in quality of product, speedy process, more hygiene, low maintenance, easy set up and simple training and reliable n easy CIP. He believes that these are the basis of shift for manufacturers of interior areas from manual to automation.

Insight

Though the industry is getting automated but still shortage of skilled labour, food safety concerns and high maintenance is a gap on a road of growth. Narrowing down of this gap should be tactfully bridged for the total automation of the industry. Government should take initiatives in the field of both taxes and electricity as it is the biggest hurdle for ice cream industry. Along with this the network of roads both in urban and interior areas should have a better accessibility for smooth supply of ice cream products.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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