Milk Mantra, Odisha based dairy product start-up, makes national foray

Fidelity-backed firm launches MooShake, turmeric extract-based milk shake

Bibhu Ranjan Mishra Bengaluru
Milk Mantra, an Odisha-based dairy product company is foraying beyond Eastern India with the launch of MooShake, a dairy-based health beverage which is blended with curcumin, an extract from turmeric, believed to have multiple health benefits. This marks the Fidelity Growth Partners backed startup’s entry into the dairy-based functional health-category space with ready-to-drink milk beverage which has a longer shelf life.

To start with, the company has launched MooShake in four different flavours in Bengaluru, and is looking to launch the milk shake gradually across all major cities in interval of couple of months. “This is the world’s first such beverage with curcumin in it. Each pack of MooShake contains 0.05 per cent pure curcumin, an extract of turmeric which is anti-inflammatory, immunity booster and also sometimes believed as a natural medicine for preventing cancer,” said Srikumar Misra, Founder & Managing Director of Milk Mantra. “We have done almost three years of research and development to come out this complex product and make it shelf stable and tasty,” he added.

Misra, a former senior executive at Tata Group, founded Milk Mantra in 2011 though it took almost two years to come out with the required infrastructure and set-up to process fresh dairy. Milky Moo, the company’s first fresh dairy product was launched in early 2012. After that, the company has come out with various dairy-based products such as paneer, probiotic yoghurt and lassi. While Milky Moo, the fresh dairy product is largely available Odisha, the value-added products like paneer and yoghurt are currently selling in other parts of Eastern India such as Kolkata, Ranchi and Jamshedpur.

Milk Mantra has so far raised around $20 million (around Rs 120 crore) in funding, including the angel round in 2010 when it raised $5 million from a group of 20 angel investors including Mumbai Angels led by Avishkaar India. Again in 2012, it did a small bridge round of around $2 million from Avishkaar. Last year, it raised $13 million (around Rs 80 crore) in series ‘C’ funding which was led by Fidelity Growth Partners India and was also participated by the existing investors.

“In the proposition we have developed, a lot of research has gone into it on how kids will relate to it. We have created characters like ‘super moo’ to engage with kids. Our proposition is ‘milk just got super with goodness of haldi’,” added Misra.

As compared to its other products such as Milky Moo milk, paneer and yoghurt, MooShake has got a longer shelf life, of around 180 days. The product is currently being contract manufactured out of Mumbai. Misra said the company is expecting to make this available in over 1,000 stores in and around of Bengaluru, by the end of this month.

“Functional health category is an evolving category in India because consumers want more than the basic milks; they are looking at milk beverages with better nutrition and which are good for health. The initial feedbacks we have received are very encouraging,” he said.

Milk Shake is estimated to be a Rs 1,000 crore category in India at present. There are many local players present in this segment apart from bigger brands like Amul, Nestle and Britannia.

With its foray into newer segments, Milk Mantra is looking at tripling the capacity of its main processing plant at Gop near Konark in Puri district of Odisha to around 225,000 litre per day by end of this year. This is in addition to its plant in Sambalpur which can process around 50,000 litre per day. It is also looking at expanding the network of farmers from whom the company sources milk from 35,000 to 100,000 in next two years.

Milk Mantra which closed FY15 with around Rs 80 crore in revenue has recently turned EBITDA positive. Misra said it was expecting to close FY16 with a revenue of anywhere between Rs 150-200 crore.

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First Published: Jun 07 2015 | 8:44 PM IST

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