ITC to look East for fresh dairy business

The firm's fresh dairy products are available in 24 cities in Bihar, while in Bengal, it has tapped Kolkata

Diversified conglomerate, ITC, will focus on going deeper into Bihar and Bengal with its fresh dairy products over the next few years. Bihar, and Kolkata in Bengal are the two markets where ITC's fresh dairy products such as milk, curd, paneer and lassi - are currently available.

Sanjay Singal, chief operating officer-dairy and beverages, ITC, said the focus for the next few years would be on the East.

"We would like to expand our range and expand footprint in Bengal and Bihar. The focus right now is on the East of India, Bengal and Bihar," he added. ITC's fresh dairy products are available in 24 cities in Bihar, while in Bengal, it has tapped Kolkata.

ITC entered fresh dairy with its Aashirvaad Svasti brand in February 2018. During the past two years, it has garnered a market share of 8-10 per cent in Kolkata.

Recently, ITC announced the launch of a premium variant of pouch milk under the Select variant, which will offer consumers a daily quality assurance report through "Doodh-er Report card" or a report card for milk. Consumers can enter their batch number on Aashirvaad Svasti's website to receive the report card. The Aashirvaad Svasti Select milk is available in Kolkata.

The milk is sourced from a network of 250 milk producer groups in Bengal and is directly sourced from 5,000 farmers. "Also, we have invested at the grassroot level to improve the cold chain from the farmer to the milk production centre to the bulk milk chilling plants and hence, we ensure that the milk is handled hygienically," Singal said.

Milk procurement in Bengal is being expanded every month and ITC was also exploring other urban markets in the state, Singal said.

ITC has three milk processing plants - at Munger and Patna in Bihar and Howrah in West Bengal.

Apart from fresh dairy, ITC has also milk shakes under the Sunfeast Wonderz brand and ghee under the Aaashirvaad brand. Aashirvaad ghee is available in six states and on the e-commerce platform, the milk shake was launched in the South, but is likely to taken to other markets.

Explaining the geographical spread, Singal explained that milk shakes and ghee were present in many parts of India but fresh dairy, because it is linked to milk sourcing and cannot be transported more than 200km, is available only in 24 cities in Bihar and Kolkata.