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Kremi eyeing 15% of retail ice-cream market

Published:Sunday | September 21, 2014 | 12:00 AM

Tameka Gordon, Business Reporter

Ice-cream maker Caribbean Cream Limited, which trades as Kremi, says it plans to grow its retail footprint, having cornered 50 per cent of the bulk distribution market.

The company last year made $856 million in sales.

"Once you hit that 50 per cent share, every other per cent of market share after that is harder to get," said CEO Christopher Clarke.

The company's retail distribution is handled by Wisynco.

"We are presently in about 400 outlets islandwide, which is about 70 per cent of what we need to be in. We will be in at least 95 per cent of the outlets by year end," said Kremi marketing manager David Radlein.

"The bulk is the majority segment of the market. The retail market basically is about 25 to 30 per cent of the total ice-cream market, when you divide it out. We plan to have 15 per cent of that within the next year and a half," Radlein said.

Caribbean Cream embarked on a $300-million expansion project in 2013, installing a cold room and improving its production floor, which is set to double the capacity of the company.

"The majority of the funds is for the cold room and the blast freezer and the new production floor. So the bulk of our expansion now is in the equipment (and) we are about halfway through," Clarke said, adding that marketing and rebranding also formed part of the expansion plans.

"Capacity-wise, once we are done, we should be able to make twice the amount of ice cream we do now," Clarke said. Kremi currently produces about 20,000 cases per week.

The company opened a pilot franchise outlet in Liguanea last year but Clarke said he has no immediate plans for new outlets.

"We are still working on that but we don't expect that to be a part of the growth for the year. Most of the growth will come from our pre-packaged products," he said.

Kremi's $856 million in sales led to $35 million in profit at year ending February 2014. It made pretax profit of $4 million but after-tax loss of $3.2 million in 2013, from sales of $676 million. Its tax bill in 2013 was 180 per cent of profit.

The company listed on the junior stock market in May 2013, becoming the first ice-cream maker to go public.