ITC to broaden dairy products portfolio

Diversified group, ITC Ltd is looking to widen its product portfolio in the dairy segment and tap the “low” milk consumption in West Bengal, according to the company. Per capita availability of milk in West Bengal is ‘low’, one-third of the national average of 427 grams per day.

Based on research studying consumer requirements, the company is currently looking to widen the range of dairy products from milk, ghee, curd, lassi, paneer. “We keep studying consumers’ requirements and accordingly launching new products,” ITC Chief Operating Officer for dairy and beverages Sanjay Singal told PTI.

“We now have a presence in West Bengal and Bihar (for dairy business) and will continue to concentrate on these two states for the next few years. There are no nation-wide fresh dairy players as one has to have a supply chain set up for everyday delivery,” said Singal.

The two states currently contribute equally to its dairy business with around 50 percent share each. Also the company has about 10-15 percent share of the fresh dairy market in Kolkata. “Milk consumption is one-third of the national average in Bengal. There is an opportunity for all players,” said Singhal.

ITC currently procures milk from around 10,000 farmers in West Bengal’s Hooghly, Howrah and Maldah.

Talking about the price trend of milk products in the sector, Singhal said, “Every category has had an inflationary headwind. We try to reduce pressure on consumers due to price increases and concentrate on efficiency to reduce costs in the value chain. We always try to minimise that impact. Everybody increased the price by an average of Rs 2 per litre and we also did the same thing.”

Dairy is the single largest agricultural commodity contributing 5 percent of the national economy and employing more than 8 crore farmers directly. India is ranked first in milk production contributing 23 percent of global milk production, according to the latest Economic Survey.

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