How Mangaluru Became The Ice Cream Capital Of India – Story

Indian ice cream market

Mangaluru, a city in India by the sea, is known for something sweet- ice cream! But how did it become the ice cream capital of India? Well, it’s a story of the flourishing dairy industry, entrepreneurship, and marketing!

Ice Cream Capital of India

In this write-up, we’ll explore the factors responsible for making Mangaluru the ice cream capital of India.

Stay tuned!

(A) Historical Background: Early Introduction of Ice Cream in Mangaluru

History of Ice Cream

In the olden days, around the late 1800s, ice cream first came to Mangaluru when the British were ruling India. They brought it with them from Europe, and though we don’t know the exact year, it became a thing in Mangaluru. At first, only rich people and those in high society could afford it. 

As time went on, around the early 1900s, Mangaluru’s dairy industry started growing. This meant more milk and cream for making ice cream. Not just that! The technology advanced too… 

Guess what? With better fridges and transportation, dairy farmers and business owners saw a golden opportunity and good returns in the ice cream industry. They started making more ice cream, and soon, it wasn’t just for the rich. Dairy cooperatives and factories made it easier to get ice cream to commoners!

By the middle of the 20th century, Mangaluru was known for its dairy farms and factories. They were making top-notch milk and cream, perfect for making delicious ice cream. This growth didn’t just mean more ice cream; it also meant new flavors and ways of making it that everyone loved. 

Some of the popular brands that came into the limelight were-

  • Ideal Ice Cream
  • Hangyo
  • Rayan

So, because of all this history and progress, Mangaluru became famous for ice cream. It all started with the British bringing it over, but now it’s part of Mangaluru’s culture. 

In the upcoming sections, we will look into the role of economic factors, entrepreneurship, innovative flavors, and marketing that made Mangaluru- the ice cream capital of India.

(B) Economic Factors: Development of Dairy Industry in Mangaluru

Mangaluru is not just about its stunning beaches and delicious seafood; it’s also a hotspot for dairy farming! Let’s dive into how this coastal city became a dairy powerhouse, fueling its growth and influencing various industries, including the beloved ice cream industry-

Establishment of Dairy Cooperatives: Rise in Dairy Farming

Mangaluru and its neighboring areas boast some of India’s most productive dairy initiatives such as-

  • Nandini Brand
  • Dakshina Kannada Co-op Milk Producers’ Union

Let’s explore them one by one-

(B.1) Nandini (Karnataka Milk Federation)

Karnataka Milk Federation

The Karnataka Milk Federation (KMF) is a group of farmers in Karnataka, India, who work together to sell dairy products like milk, curds, butter, ice cream, chocolates, and sweets. They sell these products under the name Nandini. The KMF is owned by the Ministry of Cooperation, Government of Karnataka. 

In almost every district of Karnataka including Mangaluru, there are groups of farmers who produce milk together. They collect the milk from these farmers, process it, and then sell it under the Nandini brand. Nandini is the second-largest group of dairy farmers in India, right after Amul.

Note: Do you know the controversy behind Nandini Milk vs Amul Milk in Karnataka? If not, then visit the article for in-depth information!

(B.2) Dakshina Kannada Co-op Milk Producers Union

It is one of the most notable players who massively contributed to organizing and supporting dairy farmers in the Mangaluru region.

The Dakshina Kannada Co-op. Milk Producers’ Union is a certified organization known for its high food safety standards, recognized by FSSC 22000(ver. 5). It operates in the Dakshina Kannada and Udupi coastal Districts of Karnataka, India. This Union is among the top Milk Unions in the state of Karnataka. 

Back in 1986, when it was registered, the Union used to collect 4,500 kiloliters of milk per day (KPD). Today, its collection has soared to 520,000 KPD. Initially, the Union relied on neighboring or other Milk Unions for 80% of its milk supply. Now, it’s on the brink of self-sufficiency, with a significant increase in local milk procurement. 

With their efforts, dairy farming has flourished, providing a steady and abundant supply of milk. From dairy farmers to ice cream parlors, everyone benefits from the thriving dairy ecosystem.

Thus, the flourishing dairy industry led to the development of entrepreneurship in the ice cream industry in Mangaluru. Go through the next section to dive into the details!

(C) Entrepreneurship: Birthplace of Iconic Ice Cream Brands

Do you know Mangaluru takes pride in being the birthplace of several iconic ice cream manufacturers? After all, they are one of the significant players responsible for making Mangaluru- the ice cream capital of India. 

Let’s explore a few of these celebrated brands-

(C.1) Ideal Ice Cream

Ideal Ice Cream

As per the folks of Mangaluru, Ideal Ice Cream isn’t just any ice cream brand—it’s a legend! Started back on May 1, 1975, by Prabhakar Kamath, it’s been winning hearts ever since. Based in Mangalore, India, Ideal Ice Cream is like the king of ice cream in that area, owning a whopping 80% of the market share. 

That’s a lot of ice cream love! And guess what? It’s not just Mangaloreans who get to enjoy it, people in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, and Goa also get a taste of ideal ice cream!

Before diving deeper let’s have a look at the company’s profile-

Name of the brandIdeal Ice Cream
Operating IndustryRetail 
Founded1st May 1975
HeadquartersMangaluru (Karnataka, India)
ProductsIce Cream
Ideal Ice Cream

Now, let’s talk flavors. Ideal Ice Cream is quite serious when it comes to flavors. They’ve got over 50 different ones! From the timeless classic Dilkhush to the fancy Tiramisu, there’s something for everyone. 

And oh boy, their Gadbad! It’s like a tower of deliciousness in a glass—layers of ice cream, jelly, dry fruits, and fresh fruits all in one! No wonder it’s their signature dish…

And you know what’s really fascinating? Ideal Ice Cream has won loads of awards over the years. Yep, they’re kind of a big deal in the ice cream world. So, if you ever find yourself in Mangalore or any of its neighboring areas, do yourself a favor and hunt down an Ideal Ice Cream outlet. 

Trust me, your taste buds will thank you!

(C.2) Hangyo

Hangyo Ice Cream (Ice cream capital of India)

Hangyo Ice Creams, straight out of Mangaluru, is making waves! People just love it because they’re all about quality and trying new things. They’ve got some mind-blowing flavors, like Pizza Ice Cream. Yep, you heard that right—it’s like having pizza and dessert all in one scoop!

Let’s look at the key events and exclusive features offered by Hangyo-

ParticularsDetails of Hangyo
Founding of HangyoIn 1997, Dinesh Pai and Pradeep Pai, inspired by a unique ice cream experience in Australia, laid the foundation for Hangyo.
Inaugural Outlet OpeningHangyo’s first independent ice cream outlet debuted on Christmas Eve in 1997, located at Saibeen Complex in Mangaluru.
Introduction of SofteeThe Softee, Hangyo’s initial creation, quickly gained popularity for its affordability and delicious taste, becoming a hit among children, students, and professionals.
Expansion Across Seven StatesSince its inception, Hangyo has expanded its presence across Karnataka, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, and Goa, captivating consumers with a diverse range of flavors. 
Establishment of Hangyo Ice Creams Pvt. Ltd.In 2003, Hangyo Ice Creams Pvt. Ltd. was established, achieving a turnover of 225 crores and becoming a leading private sector company in India specializing in milk and milk product manufacturing, distribution, and sales.
Retail Network GrowthHangyo boasts an extensive retail network with over 27,000 retailers spanning the regions it serves, contributing to its widespread success.
Channel Partners and Customer BaseWith over 350 channel partners and 3 million satisfied customers, Hangyo has garnered widespread recognition and loyalty for its brand.
Manufacturing PlantsHangyo operates two state-of-the-art manufacturing plants located in Heroor, Brahmavar, and Hosalli, Kirwatti. These facilities produce over 100,000 liters of ice cream daily, with the Heroor plant processing 25,000 liters of milk and milk products daily. 
Awards and RecognitionHangyo’s commitment to excellence was validated by winning six prestigious awards in the “Great Indian Ice Cream Contest 2017,” including two gold medals and three silver awards, among others, for its outstanding ice cream products.

Hangyo aims to expand its presence in untapped regions further while offering high-quality ice creams at affordable prices. Thus, it played an important role in offering the title- Ice Cream Capital of India to Mangaluru.

(C.3) Rayan

Rayan Ice Cream

Yet another local ice cream brand of Mangaluru, Rayan Ice Creams, has left a significant mark on the ice cream landscape. Their commitment to freshness and creativity shines through in flavors  such as-

  • Parfait
  • Chocolate Dad
  • Beehive

(D) Innovative Ice Cream Flavours of Mangaluru

Mangaluru’s ice cream artisans have pushed the boundaries of flavor creation. How? You may ask. Well, they’ve blended spices and condiments to concoct unique and unforgettable tastes. Here are some standout flavors-


Inspired by the traditional summer drink made from jaggery, dry ginger (saunth), black pepper, and cardamom, Panak ice cream captures the essence of Ram Navami festivities.

Bella Candy

Ideal Ice Cream introduced this flavor. Do you know its key ingredient? It is jaggery! Bella Candy pays homage to traditional Indian sweets with the sweetness of jaggery.


The witty name has earned a grand reputation in the ice cream capital of India. Gadbad Ice Cream was born at Diana, a restaurant in Udupi. It has an interesting story! Let me tell it briefly. So, in 1962, customers visited the restaurant during winter and requested ice cream. Mohandas Pai, the owner, realized there wasn’t enough ice cream for all 20 customers. He ingeniously layered different flavors and toppings. 

Thus, the iconic Gadbad was born with a delightful mishmash of scoops, fruits, and syrups!


A delightful blend of flavors that lives up to its name, Dilkhush is a favorite among locals.

Jackfruit Payasam

A nod to the region’s love for jackfruit, this ice cream flavor captures the essence of the fruit.


Inspired by the classic Italian dessert, Mangaluru’s Tiramisu ice cream is a treat for coffee lovers.


A sweet and nutty delight that keeps patrons coming back for more.

The ice cream scene in Mangaluru isn’t just about yummy flavors—it’s also boosting jobs and the local economy big time! Thanks to its creative food scene and go-getter attitude, this seaside city is a hotspot for ice cream lovers and food enthusiasts.

(E) India’s Largest Ice Cream Parlour

Ideal ice cream parlour

Do you remember we talked about “Ideal Ice Cream” in the previous section? Let me tell you another astonishing fact about this ice cream brand- Ideal Ice Cream proudly owns India’s largest ice cream parlor. And that parlor is located in Mangaluru!

With a seating capacity of over 300 people, this spacious haven welcomes ice cream lovers from all around the country. 

(F) Role of Marketing & Promotion 

In this section, we will see how marketing and promotion played a crucial role in making Mangaluru the ice cream capital of India. 

(F.1) Advertising Strategies of Local Ice Cream Brands

The local ice cream brand of Mangaluru employs effective traditional marketing strategies to promote its products and establish its presence in the market. It includes-

  • Print Advertisements: Local newspapers, magazines, etc.
  • Outdoor Advertising: Billboards, and posters strategically placed in high-traffic areas
  • Digital Marketing: Social media platforms and websites

That’s how they attract customers and contribute to Mangaluru’s reputation as the ice cream capital of India.

(F.2) Collaborations with Influencers and Food Bloggers

Ever seen someone on Instagram or YouTube talking about their favorite ice cream? When someone with lots of followers talks about how tasty the ice cream is, more people want to try it too! That’s what an influencer does. Ice cream brands in Mangaluru team up with influencers to spread the word even more…

Influencers and food bloggers often create engaging content such as photos, videos, and reviews showcasing the ice cream brand’s offerings, thereby increasing brand visibility and credibility. These collaborations help generate buzz around the brand and attract new customers, contributing to Mangaluru’s status as a hub for ice cream enthusiasts!

(F.3) Word-of-mouth promotion and Reputation-Building

Have you ever tried a really good ice cream and then told all your friends about it? That’s what happens with Mangaluru’s ice cream brands too! When people have a great experience with a particular brand, they tell others about it. It’s like free advertising, but even better because it comes from someone you trust. 

So, by making sure their ice cream is top-notch, Mangaluru’s brands keep building their reputation as the go-to place for delicious ice cream. That’s how word-of-mouth marketing works for Mangaluru ice cream brands!

In short, marketing in Mangaluru made sure everyone knew about their ice cream brands, got social media stars to talk about them, and encouraged people to spread the word to their friends. This made Mangaluru famous for its ice cream, with everyone wanting to try it!

(G) Annual Revenue of Mangaluru Ice Cream Industry

Indian ice cream market

The annual revenue generated by Mangaluru’s ice cream industry hovers around 100 million dollars (approximately Rs 82 crore), making it a significant contributor to the local economy.

(H) Wrap-Up: How Mangaluru became the ice cream capital of India?

Mangaluru’s rise to being the ice cream capital of India is all about its innovative flavors, entrepreneurial spirit, culinary creativity, and smart advertising. From its small beginnings to now being famous for its ice cream, Mangaluru has won over people’s hearts with its delicious flavors and top-quality scoops.

Thanks to clever ads, social media buzz, and happy customers spreading the word, Mangaluru has become the go-to place for anyone craving a delicious ice cream experience. So, next time you’re in Mangaluru, don’t forget to treat yourself to a scoop of Gadbad, Bella Candy, or any of their amazing ice cream!

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Published By: Supti Nandi
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3 months ago

Although I heard about Mangaluru ice creams but didn’t know that they have so many varieties. I wonder how to big brands like Amul, Vadilal, etc. compete with these local brands??