Walko Food, the India-based ice-cream business, has agreed on investment from local private-equity firm JM Financial Private Equity.

The company, based in Pune in western India, has announced financial backing to the tune of INR350m (US$4.7m). JM Financial Private Equity’s shareholding in the business was not disclosed.

Walko Food is the owner of the NIC ice-cream brand. The company operates a manufacturing plant in Pune and markets its products through retail, foodservice and food-delivery customers. The company says it sells its ice cream in over 50 cities in India.

Company founder Jeetendra Bhandari, a former Coca-Cola and Walmart executive, said: “This growth capital infusion and partnership with a seasoned investor like JM Financial Private Equity will help us accelerate our current expansion plans and expand market share.

“Walko plans to deploy funds to increase geographic penetration, open flagship parlours, manufacturing capacity expansion and marketing. Ice cream per capita consumption in India is very low when compared to G-20 economies and as such it provides long-term secular growth opportunity.”

Darius Pandole, a managing director at JM Financial, also pointed to what he sees as the opportunity for growth to be had in India’s ice-cream market.

“The domestic ice-cream market is large and growing and we believe that there is a long runway of growth banking on low per-capita ice-cream consumption, foodtech platforms and development of multiple distribution channels and formats,” he said.

“Within the broader ice-cream market, NIC has established a good product market fit with its differentiated, high quality natural ice cream and direct-to-consumer strategy.”