Expecting a revenue and sales volume growth rate of 20 per cent this year and in the coming few years, Yakult Danone
India, a 50:50 joint-venture between Japan-based Yakult Honsha and Groupe Danone of France, will be coming out with a new probiotic
product under the fermented milk
The company's managing director, Minoru Shimada, said that the new product was in the development phase and its Tokyo-based research and development facility was working on the product.
Since its entry into India in 2008, under the fermented milk
category, the company has had only one product, which is priced at Rs 12 per bottle of 65 ml. At the same time, other dairy majors like Nestle, Mother Dairy, and Amul
have successfully introduced probiotic curd
and ice cream.
Shimada reasoned that the new product would be in the existing product category as it was not possible to offer the bacteria count used in its products in other product categories like curd
or ice cream.
The company has claimed that it offers 6.5 billion bacteria in its product that is available in India. Also, in India, the company uses only the Lactobacillus
casei strain Shirota variant of the benevolent bacteria whereas four different strains are used in its Japanese products.
The company has claimed that regular curd
is not a probiotic
as ordinary lactic acid bacteria, which is not proven to reach the stomach alive (upon consumption) and there is no scientific evidence of it being a probiotic, is present in this product.
"We are studying what kind of nutrients are lacking in India and what is the customer demand. Based on these, we will launch a new product," Shimada told Business Standard.
It is also scaling up its operations at its Sonepat facility in Haryana. Currently, running at a near 100 per cent capacity utilisation, the plant can roll out 200,000 bottles per day, which the probiotic
maker will scale up to manufacture 280,000 bottles a day in the next two years.
Although faced with logistics costs owing to a single factory, Shimada is not keen to opt for a second one till he is able to sell at least 800,000 bottles a day from the current 200,000 bottles.
"Once we reach this minimum target, we'll come up with a second plant, either in Maharashtra or Karnataka," he added.