Americans will soon be able to have Amul milk for breakfast. Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF), which markets milk and dairy products under the Amul brand, plans to launch liquid milk in the US within a year.
Besides, GCMMF has ambitious plans to export milk products from the US to neighbouring Canada as well as countries in Europe in the long-run. “There is definitely a plan to launch it (liquid milk) in the US market. However, it would take some time,” said R S Sodhi, managing director of GCMMF. Exports to Canada can start soon, while exports to the European countries can take a while, he added.
GCMMF is all set to start manufacturing ghee (clarified butter) and paneer (cottage cheese) at a plant in New Jersey from February this year. Kaira (Anand) District Cooperative Milk Producers Union Ltd (Amul Dairy) has entered into an agreement with a local manufacturing plant owned by a non-resident Indian to start manufacturing.
Already, Amul has tied up with a local cooperative dairy to procure milk for processing. In the long run, it can also opt for buying directly from local dairy farmers. Sodhi said: “We would pay at par with the prevalent rates in the US. Procurement prices in the US are more or less at a similar level as that in India.”
Initially, it would require around 50,000 litres of milk a day. It plans to make around five tonnes of ghee a day and two tonnes of paneer a day in the first phase, and eventually add products such as lassi, yogurt, shreekhand, besides scaling up production for ghee and paneer based on demand.
“We usually export ghee from here to the US, but it takes around one-and-a-half month to reach. Also, while there is a promising market for paneer in the US, both for households and restaurants, we cannot export from here as it is a perishable commodity,” said R K Srivastava, managing director, Amul Dairy. Amul plans to start selling fresh dairy products in US market in a few months and liquid milk in a year’s time ,he added.
According to Srivastava, no additional investment would be required for launching liquid milk. The local manufacturing unit already has the capacity to make paneer and has invested close to $2 million for manufacturing ghee.
Amul plans to sell its products in markets such as New Jersey, New York, Boston, which have a significant Indian population. “There are around four million Indians in the area, together with around five million south Asians like Pakistanis and Bangladeshis. It is like catering to cities like Mumbai, Delhi which have a huge population,” Srivastava said.
With four million Indians (around one million families approximately) consuming even one kg of dairy product, the demand can reach 1,000 tonnes in a month from households alone. The locally made products would also be 10-15 per cent cheaper than Amul products imported from India as there is a 20 per cent duty.