The Journey Of Vadilal Ice Cream

The Journey Of Vadilal Ice Cream

From a small restaurant in a noisy corner of Teen Darwaja in Ahmedabad to a Company with more than 50000 dealers across India. Devansh Sanghvi From a small outlet in Ahmedabad over 80 years back, Vadilal Industries Ltd has today emerged as India’s second largest ice cream player. The company is also one of the largest processed food players in India with significant exports of frozen vegetables and ready to eat snacks, curries and breads.

Vadilal’s aim is to become an Indian MNC in Icecreams and frozen foods and to provide products and services at an affordable price without compromising on quality. Today they are the second largest food preservative seller in Gujarat.



vadilal story

From selling sodas in 1907, the Gandhis have travelled four generations with their brand Vadilal, to their new corporate office in Navrangpura, less than 5km from their first outlet.

“My forefather had imported furniture from Italy and we were among the first to get an electric connection in the city,” says Rajesh Gandhi, managing director of Vadilal Industries, the flagship firm of the Vadilal Group.

Initially, founder Vadilal Gandhi used to make ice cream by the traditional Kothi method, using a hand-operated machine to churn milk with other ingredients, ice and salt.

They even offered home delivery, with ice creams packed in thermos boxes.

In 1926, they imported ice-cream making machines, paying custom duty of 300-350%. Vadilal, which had expanded to four ice-cream shops before independence, became popular for its cassata ice cream, which it introduced in the 1950s. It remained a city brand till 1972-73.

Ramchandra Gandhi, 86, chairman of Vadilal Industries and father of Rajesh, took over his grandfather’s business in 1942, turning it into an over Rs 400 crore empire by the financial year 2011-12 with the support of his brother Lakshman Gandhi and other family members.

The family says they did consider changing the brand name Vadilal in the 1980s. “We decided to stick to Vadilal because when we looked around we found that a lot of brands named after their founders, like Mafatlal and Ford, were successful,” says Rajesh.

In 1972-73, the company had 8-10 outlets in Ahmedabad. They spent five-six years consolidating the business. The group invested Rs 25 lakh in 1972 in setting up an ice-cream factory at Pundhra, Gandhinagar district. “Ice cream was not seen as an industry then. Everybody said we would go bankrupt. In the first year of operations, our factory got flooded. But we have never looked back,” Rajesh says.
A multinational company tried to buy them out in 1985. “They even sent a muscleman to our office to threaten us. We were told that the sea is rough and it was time for us to jump,” Rajesh recalls, refusing to divulge the name of the company. Vadilal decided to go in for nationwide expansion.

In the early 1990s, there was a split in the family, with Shailesh Gandhi, brother of Rajesh and son of Ramchandra, being given a factory in Tarapur, Pune, and territorial rights in Maharashtra and south India. “Both families continue to use the same brand name but there were territorial restrictions. Today, we are present in 16 states while my brother is in five states,” says Rajesh.

In 1996, the Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF), selling its products under the brand name Amul, captured the market, becoming No. 1 by 2001. Vadilal is the country’s second-largest ice cream brand by sales.

Vadilal has the largest range of ice creams in the country, with more than 150 flavours sold in more than 300 packs and forms. Today, the ice-cream market in India is estimated at Rs 2,500 crore in the organized sector. Vadilal Industries, which has been growing at about 30% annually for the last 10 years, aims to touch Rs 450 crore this fiscal.

Vadilal introduces one or two products every month while dropping an equal number to “avoid making the product basket unhealthy”, Rajesh says. It has 50,000 dealers across India and 200 Happinezz Parlours, most franchisee outlets.

Vadilal Industries also entered the processed foods industry in the early 1990s and is today one of the largest players in India. Currently, it exports approximately 175 products under the Vadilal Quick Treat and Garden Fresh brands to nearly 45 countries.

Reference : http://www.livemint.com/

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