“Although Movenpick is not considering to quit like London Dairy did, but continuing in Pakistan is getting even challenging each day,” he said.
Jofa Group is the sole distributor of Movenpick ice cream in Pakistan for 20 years.
For the last few years, all imports are in problem due to depreciating rupee, excessive taxes and regulatory duties, he added.
“Ice cream imports are also declining. The market size is shrinking, as ensuring the availability of product is getting difficult. It has become quite challenging to continue the brand in Pakistan. Nonetheless, we will continue.”
Among other imported ice cream brands, Baskin Dairy Robbins has presence and Hagen Daz has now come again as a couple of their parlours can be seen in Punjab. London Dairy ventured in and then quit.
“In the last 20 years several ice cream brands came to this market and then left, because the survival is quite difficult,” Dr Yousuf said.
According to the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS), the country’s total ice cream imports during the last fiscal year stood at 327 tonnes worth Rs218 million.
“You see international brands such as Movenpick serve as an image-building tool for a country like Pakistan. Existence of reputable global brands encourage other investors and brands to invest in the country,” Dr Yousuf said.
“When the authorities pitch Pakistan as an investment-friendly country before the international business community, they consider the presence of the existing brands,” he added.
Experts suggest that the presence of reputed global brands lends credibility to a country’s image and a nation with positive image in the international arena will be more attractive to tourists, skilled workers and investments.
There were around 300 per cent taxes on imported ice cream. “The government should consider that Movenpick portrays a soft image of the country. Besides, ice cream imports are quite nominal; hence, no pressure on import bill,” he said.
For Dr Yousuf, the government was committed to promote tourism but if the foreign nationals wouldn’t find their known brands they couldn’t be much encouraged. For tourists global brands give a sense of belonging, make them feel like citizens of the world.
“Top tourists destinations bring global brands and facilitate them because these encourage tourists visit again and even promote the tourist destinations among their peers,” he said.
Talking about the pricing, Dr Yousuf said that Movenpick should be compared with the value of the product. Despite being expensive than other ice cream brands in the country, it gives the value and satisfaction higher than its price, he claimed.
According to the Jofa Group chairman, Movenpick was being sold in Pakistan at the lowest rate than the rest of the world.
“It seems expensive because our currency is very weak. The standard price of Movenpick is $4/scoop in most parts of the world and it costs 5 euros/scoop in Europe. In Pakistan it is Rs470.”
Movenpick is 100 per cent natural and organic ice cream for a high-end niche market. “It is prepared in Switzerland and distributed across the world from there.”
Jofa Group is also into building and developing business. The group is evaluating the feasibility of launching a real estate project in Karachi. However, the volatility of the currency and fluctuation in commodity prices is delaying these plans.
Dr Yousuf is a mental health psychologist and also runs a chain of wellness clinics in Karachi.
Mental health was his passion and the wellness clinics was not just a business as deserving patients were accorded with free of charge therapies and other treatments, he said.
Honorary Counsel General of Philippines in Pakistan, Dr Yousuf highlighted the efforts in enhancing the bilateral trade between the two countries.