New-age dairy firms changing milk consumption paradigms in India

New age dairy firms in India are promising the discerning Indian consumer not just high-quality milk, but also an array of value-added products. Except for Amul and Mother Dairy, India’s traditional milk co-operatives, however, are trying to keep pace, not very successful though.

Milky Moo an app-based retailer owned by dairy start-up Milk Mantra has been weaning consumers away from the traditional doodhwala. The value-conscious homemaker is now happy to pay even Rs 5 premium per litre for the milk.

Odisha, in fact, has dozens of consumers who have embraced Milky Moo. The decade-old firm has a 20% market share (despite selling its milk at a premium of Rs 5) in the state, says the CEO of one of India’s biggest milk co-operatives. Though local dairy co-operative OMFED has a 50% market share, it is losing clout to private dairies like Milk Mantra and Pragati.

The myth of Tier-II and III cities shying away from anything remotely premium is fast disappearing. In Tamil Nadu’s Erode, yet another private dairy brand, Milky Mist, has made paneer popular. 

Like Milk Mantra and Milky Mist, there are a host of private dairy companies such as Gyan Dairy (Lucknow), Sarda Farms (Nashik), Milk & Meadows (Jaipur), Country Delight (Gurugram) and Epigamia (Mumbai), which are trying to make a mark in the Rs 1,80,000-crore Indian dairy industry with differentiated business models and go-to-market strategies.

Private dairies constitute 48-50% of the dairy industry by volume. In fact, all the private dairies put together are procuring more milk today than the cooperatives. The cooperatives procure between 535-540 lakh litres per day, as opposed to the private dairies which procure 557-562 lakh litres per day. While the likes of Amul and Nandhini (in Karnataka) are far ahead in terms of milk procurement, other state cooperatives (such as Punjab, UP and many others) don’t procure much milk Not only are they giving the local dairy cooperatives a run for their money, even deep-pocketed private companies such as Nestle and Britannia have not managed to create the wide portfolio of value-added products like these new-age companies. Nestle, whose dairy business in India is over a century old, has a strong presence only in condensed milk and UHT milk. Similarly, Britannia’s focus is largely cheese and butter. 

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