In India, dairy farming is more than just a business; it's a livelihood superhero, providing employment and income generation opportunities for millions. From the bustling streets of Mumbai to the serene countryside, dairy cooperatives are moving mountains to support small and marginal farmers. And speaking of milk, one must know that India is a powerhouse when it comes to dairy. With the largest milk production in the world, our country alone takes ownership of 180 million metric tons of this creamy goodness, every year. Now, imagine the potential of a country where cows and buffaloes are more than just farmyard friends. This large number definitely supports the fact that they are the backbone of a thriving dairy industry.
But wait, there's more! India's dairy industry isn't just satisfying its own cravings; it's also making a splash on the global stage. With its massive milk production capacity, India has the potential to become a major player in the global dairy market. To understand the ever-rising trend of milk consumption, not only in India, but also the world, we took our opportunity to talk to the most niche and among the largest members of this booming industry. Get ready to raise your milk glasses and celebrate World Milk Day, as T Satish Kumar— Founder and Managing Director of Milky Mist—and Akshali Shah—Executive director of Parag Milk Foods—converse with us about the nitty-gritties of this industry and remind us of the ‘udderly’ (I’m sorry, I just had to) amazing role milk plays in our lives.
Milky Mist Milky Mist entered the dairy business in the 1990s when Mr T Sathish Kumar took over his father's struggling milk distribution business. Recognizing the emerging demand for quality, hygienic and safe Value Added Dairy Products (VADPs), he shifted the focus from distribution to manufacturing. With meticulous planning and extensive research, he steadily made his mark in this enormous industry.
Initially, the plant was set up in a small piece of land in Chithode, Erode Dist, however, 2019-20 saw the emergence of a sprawling, state-of-the-art Mega Plant. ‘This facility has a processing capacity of 1.2 million litres per day and can be expanded to 1.5 million litres along with the production of a wide range of VADPs, including curd, cheese, butter, and milkshakes’ says T Satish Kumar.
‘If we talk about the present, Milky Mist alone procures an average of 0.8 million litres per day directly, from around 60,000 farmers in ten districts of Tamil Nadu. We prioritise quality and freshness throughout the farm-to-table journey. Our own transportation system comes with custom-built milk tankers and modern equipment to ensure milk purity that is also passed through a stringent quality check enforced during manufacturing. In our commitment to sustainable and ethical practices, we deem the financial health of farmers to be a priority. This includes timely payments, veterinary services, and supply of fortified cattle feed as well as mineral mixtures for nourishment and health’ added Mr. Kumar.
Milky Mist aims to introduce newer milk-based products, such as chocolates and condensed milk, to the market. We recognize the trends in milk consumption in India are still lower compared to developed countries. However, we also believe that with the growing health-conscious society, the dairy sector will witness significant growth. And Milky Mist will continue manufacturing and supplying healthy products to cater to the needs of these consumers.
Pride of Cow by Parag Milk Foods Parag Milk Foods, founded by Mr. Devendra Shah in 1992, is a leading technology-driven FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer Goods) dairy player in India offering a range of products such as milk, low-fat milk, ghee, paneer, and curd. The parent company to renowned brands like Gowardhan, Go, Pride of Cows, and Avvatar, Parag Milk Foods owns a significant market share owing to their most loved products such as Gowardhan Ghee and Go Cheese. Sporting state-of-the-art manufacturing units strategically located at Manchar and Palamner and a strong distribution network, the parent company has more than 3000 distributors and are present in over 4.5 lakh retail outlets.
‘To ensure the quality and freshness of all our dairy products, Parag Milk Foods established an R&D centre called Bhagyalakshmi Dairy Farm in 2005. This centre focuses on scientific knowledge in feeding, breeding, milking, and processing, the whole A-Z of a dairy business. We maintain a herd of more than 3500 high-quality Holstein Friesian cows and expert nutritionists to provide wholesome meal, nutrition and nourishment to keep the cows healthy. And after all this, when it comes to sustainability and ethical practices, we do so by promoting the use of electricity from biogas, recycling cow dung and urine, and creating organic fertilisers. We also conduct workshops for farmers, promote dairy tourism and recycle the PET bottles used in the packaging process’, said Akshali Shah, Executive Director of Parag Milk Foods.
Pride of Cows is a premium dairy brand, a subsidiary of Parag Milk Foods that operates on a subscription-based model. They are currently present in Mumbai, Pune, Delhi, Surat, and Ahmedabad and now aim to expand their reach in metro cities by focusing on providing good quality products to meet the evolving demands of health-conscious consumers.
Natasha Kittur is an aspiring writer. Her love for anything with cheese and spice is profound, but a white sauce pasta always tops her list. In her free time you will catch her reading or watching crime books and shows or go on and on about psychological experiments and theories. She aims to write a book in the fictional genre someday.