Amul plans to make its presence felt worldwide

Himalayan News Service

New Delhi, April 26:

India’s largest dairy brand Amul would soon be seen on the shelves of leading international stores like Wal-Mart and Mustafa in Singapore after its successful foray into the United Arab Emirates (UAE). “We are expanding outside to test our quality and face competition, while going ahead with plans to spread across the country to pre-empt any foreign competition,” said B.M. Vyas, managing director of Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF), India’s largest dairy cooperative. GCMMF’s Amul has been recording 20 per cent annual growth in overseas markets largely through supermarkets and chain store sales.

Though Amul products have been selling in the US since 1998, “we are in discussion with Wal-Mart to have a separate counter for stocking and selling our products. We also have an arrangement with Mustafa supermarket chain in Singapore, Lanka Milk Foods (CWE) Ltd and John Keels chain in Sri Lanka, as also Choithram, Carrefour and Lulu chains in the UAE,” said Vyas. Amul is also being marketed in Hong Kong.

“Our export strategy is only to test market our branded products, but our real market is India. At all times our effort would be to remain market leaders in India and stave off competition, while testing our products globally,” Vyas said. The major supermarket and chain stores have been identified as the vehicle overseas to promote Amul dairy products ranging from milk powder, butter, ghee, cheese, butter, ice creams and tinned Indian sweets. As growth through bulk exports is variable, GCMMF has opted for sustained growth through retail

sales that ensure brand recall and customer loyalty.

Of the Rs 29 billion Indian Currency (IC) turnover in 2003-04, up from Rs 24.75 billion IC in the previous fiscal, GCMMF’s overseas sales contributed Rs 500 million IC. The figures could have been much higher but for shortage of milk supplies early last year leading to GCMMF dropping an export order to Iraq. “Last year, we had to turn down an order for exports to Iraq and divert the milk and milk products to meet domestic demand in New Delhi,” said R S Khanna, officer on special duty with the GCMMF based here.

After a high 13 per cent growth in 2000-01, GCMMF has been witnessing its normal four to five percent growth in milk production annually. The cooperative’s current milk production, collected from 2.2 million milk producers of Gujarat, is around five million litres a day.

Through tie-ups with similar dairy cooperatives in other states, GCMMF is now trying to not only increase its milk procurement but also enhance its production and market reach to new towns.