Revival & Survival: We expect business to largely recover in a year’s time: Anindya Dutta

Prepared or not, India has to gear up for an exit strategy for the lockdown period. It is definitely a changed world that India is entering now, and we will have to learn to live with the Coronavirus in our midst.

A lot has been written, debated and discussed over how much the economy and business operations have been hit. We, at Adgully, aim to look at the revival story. What does it take to jumpstart an economy? That is the great narrative that we are following up as part of our ‘Revival and Survival’ series.

Anindya Dutta, MD, Havmor Ice-cream, gives his take on the new normal in the COVID-19 world and the way he believes it would span out.

What does the new normal look like? How much has the COVID-19 crisis disrupted business operations?

COVID-19 has impacted the business rather significantly, but things are opening in the last fortnight or so and are getting better across the country. The team has demonstrated exceptional courage to minimise disruption and ensure that in Green Zones and Orange Zones, wherever authorities have permitted, they have gone the extra mile to deliver ice-cream to dealers and to consumers’ homes to ensure that ice-creams can be made available and can bring cheer and happiness to households.

We have been closely monitoring the situation and our understanding of the new normal, and the way we believe it would span out is as follows. There are two major aspects to it:

  • Trust will be a significant factor in the decision-making tree hence, companies which will be able to deliver trust, will be more acceptable and preferred by the consumers. In Havmor, under our initiative of Havmor Assurance, we have taken a drive to give tangible assurance on our packaged products as well as our parlour experiences. We are providing consumers the confidence that at every stage of manufacturing and delivery, all safety protocols are being adhered to and our products are free from any concerns.
  • Secondly, the emergence of indoor consumption is going to be evidently high and consumers are already seeking for having products delivered right at their doorstep. With the changing time, we are also changing our approach to service our consumers in a better way. Hence, to fulfil the demand of our customers, we have started our own home delivery initiative by the name of, and along with that, we have also partnered with online delivery platforms like Swiggy, Zomato and Dunzo to ensure ice-cream is easily available. This is the best possible way to cover a large part of the country ensuring safe home delivery.

What should be the blueprint for a post-COVID-19 economy?

The times ahead are going to be interesting, but tough. Some of the key elements we believe will span out in the post-COVID-19 world are as follows:

  • Value for Money will turn out to be even more sought after expectation among the consumers in the post-COVID-19 scenario, where they would demand to see value being delivered.
  • Quality and health will be considered as the most important factor for each product category as the consumers will expect and seek out brands that will be driven by these factors. For ice-creams, we will be able to deliver far greater quality and health benefits as we are made with the goodness of milk, unlike other players.
  • Consumers will opt for home delivery of products in the safety of their homes and companies need to deliver on that, including contactless deliveries.
  • Digital media will become indispensable to a company’s marketing plan. And companies which will embrace digital ways to interact with consumers will be able to build an engagement with them far more strongly.
  • Brick and mortar stores may look completely different post crisis and an evident change in pattern will be seen.

How are you strategising for the remaining quarters of this Financial Year 2021?

We have drawn out a strategy roadmap for our business and looking at aggressively following it:

  • We are creating Go to Market models based on the insight of bringing delight and joy right up to people’s homes
  • We are looking to create more in-house consumption moments to offset the loss of outdoor consumption moments
  • We are looking at re-enforcing trust through our packaged product and parlour experiences
  • We are working out to bring out the quality assurance of our products to our consumers as they are made out of milk and follow the highest manufacturing standards

How do you see businesses and the Government working together to undo the lockdown disruption and address the market uncertainties?

Businesses should be responsible to maintain all safety protocols, including social distancing, hygiene standards not only in their offices and factories, but also in all their area of influence-distributors, retail outlets, etc. The Government needs to give necessary guidelines and ensure that there is a clear understanding of government directives at the last mile to avoid multiple interpretations.

How do you visualise the economy and your sector a year later? How much would it have recovered by then?

With regard to the ice cream and FMCG sector, we believe, the impact on the business would be on a short term basis and we expect the business to largely recover in a year’s time and that there would be no significant drop in consumption or distribution.

On the economy part, the right Government stimulus and the necessary policies and its execution to help kickstart the economy back and get consumption to resume will be critical. Further, creating the right environment and giving migrant labourers the confidence to get back to their respective cities to resume their work and revive lost jobs will be the other major factor.


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