In 2011, the Indian frozen yoghurt market was estimated to be worth Rs 650 crore, and seemed poised to grow at 18-20 per cent annually. Indians have always been among the world's largest consumers of dairy, and the new entrants – branded frozen yoghurt chains from overseas – were keen to convert what was (and is) merely a part of the average Indian diet to a full-fledged meal, also capitalising on the fact that we have a sweet tooth in the process.
In the literal sense, frozen yoghurt is fast food, but it is increasingly becoming popular because of the element of health attached to it. Since dietitians recommend fruit, certain kinds of nuts, etc., which are used as toppings by these chains, health-conscious consumers are more likely to lap them up. And the chains are confident that their outlets will not just be concentrated in the metros, but some small towns will eventually follow suit.
Cocoberry was among the first frozen dessert chains in India to give ice cream makers a run for their money. It is a three-year-old player in the Indian frozen yoghurt market. Corporate giants like Google, Wipro, and Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) are said to have evinced interest in having Cocoberry kiosks on their premises, and the brand itself has an aggressive promotional strategy in place.
Frozen yogurt is Cocoberry's signature product. The range is called Berry Blast, and comprises Strawberry Yoghurt with fresh Kiwis; Alphonso Yoghurt with Mango (to give it the local twist); Green Apple Yoghurt with Blackberries; Strawberry Yoghurt; Blueberry Yoghurt with Blackberries, and Wildberry Toppings. Their other offerings include sandwiches; various kinds of fruit smoothies; parfaits (which can be meals in themselves), and iced tea.
There is a wide range of toppings to choose from. These include the various kinds of berries (strawberry, raspberry, blackberry, and blueberry); Snickers; kiwi fruit; mango; pineapple; chickoo; musk melon; figs; grapes; white chocolate chips; dark chocolate chips; chocolate strands; Oreo cookies; Gems (the Cadbury's offering); granola; walnuts; almonds, and butterscotch crispies.
Yogurberry, a South Korean brand that operates outlets on a franchise model in various parts of the world (including the Middle-East), has stores in New Delhi's Block Market and Defence Colony Market and Mumbai's High Street Phoenix and Juhu. Its yoghurt menu includes original plain; chocolate; mango; blueberry; strawberry; pomegranate; passion fruit; green apple; pineapple and banana.
Toppings are categorised as premium toppings (which include kiwi; strawberry; blueberry, and blackberry); regular toppings (which include banana; melon; pomegranate; chickoo; black grapes, and pineapple), and dry toppings (which include corn flakes; muesli; Cocoa Krispies; almonds; raisins; chocolate chips; white chocolate chips; chocolate strands; fancy strands, and Oreo cookies).
The chain also allows patrons to make their own original or flavoured yogurt parfait (a combination of frozen yoghurt, one cereal, five regular toppings and one premium topping) or choose from the yoghurt smoothies [which are available in seven flavours, namely Original Plain; YogurBerry Mix (mixed berries); Green tea and Banana; Strawberry and Banana; Peach and Mango; Green Apple and Kiwi, and Mango and Pineapple].
There is also the 'Mix in Yoghurt' range, which includes Strawberry and Cheesecake; Honey and Pistachio; YogurBerry Mix; Strawberry and Banana Pineapple and Blueberry; Honeydew Melon and Kiwi; Cookie and Nuts; Oreo and Brownies Mix; Orea and Banana Mix, and Special Nut Mix. The Indian franchisee of Yogurberry, Raasha Leisure and Entertainment, expects the brand to have over a hundred outlets across the country over the next five years.
Aparna Pai, senior marketing executive, Brand Calculus Franchising India Pvt. Ltd, the Bangalore-based franchisee for Canadian frozen yoghurt brand Kiwi Kiss, which has stores in Chennai, Bangalore and Mumbai, said, “The growing popularity of frozen yoghurt brands in India in such a short span of time can be attributed to both its tangy taste and the fact that it is a low-fat treat,” adding that its taste is its USP as well.
“The biggest challenge the brand faced, of course, was that frozen yoghurt as a category in India itself was new when it was launched, and getting customer trials took considerable time and effort. There are tremendous opportunities in the metros themselves, and there seems to be room for many competing brands, especially when we compare them to the ice cream brands available,” she said.
Pai said, “We constantly develop new flavours. Chocolate-based flavours and fruit flavours such as kiwi, orange, pineapple, mango, etc. are our standard offers. Our future products will also be predominantly fruit-based and even more fun. Our plans are firstly to grow the brand's distribution in the South (viz. Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderabad) and then expand to the other metros. We believe this will become a very large product category in time.”