Mother Dairy milks opportunities in new markets

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Mother Dairy, a wholly owned company of the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB), has been fast spreading its verticals beyond the Delhi-NCR region and even getting into Amul dominated markets. Lucknow and Kanpur are the latest additions where Mother Dairy has made its presence felt.

While, much has been written about the success story of Amul, Mother Dairy is one unsung hero. Last year, the company had a turnover of Rs 5,500 crore. Eighty per cent of which came from the Delhi and NCR region. Mother Dairy has dominated the Delhi market ever since its inception in 1974. Its milk vertical, accounts for 65 per cent of its business.

While Debashis Das, General Manager, Marketing (Milk), Mother Dairy, refuses to compete with Amul, his focus largely is on converting people from buying non-branded milk to branded milk.

Creating brand connect
Mother Dairy is not a high spender when it comes to advertising. It spent Rs 3.5 crore in 2011 nationally on ATL activities, of which Rs 70-80 lakh was spent on print in Delhi.

Debashis Das

Debashis Das, General Manager, Marketing (Milk), Mother Dairy

Besides, the company largely depends on on-ground activities to build a connect with the consumers.On priority is to convert Safal (fruit and vegetable retail outlets of Mother Dairy) consumers buy Mother Dairy Milk.“To get the larger share of the consumer’s wallet is another aim that we are looking at,” says Das.

Going to school
One of the largest consumer section, Mother Dairy is looking at is students. To engage them, the company has started organising ‘Spell-Vocab’ challenges in various schools. Das feels that kids these days are using a lot of SMS language. To link the purity of milk with purity of English language these contests are organised in more than 200 schools put together in Delhi and Mumbai. Why only English? “English, as a concept, is a language, parents want their kids to learn. It is a language, which needs to be cleared in every competitive exam, including GMAT and CAT. Even for settling abroad, you need to clear an English language exam,” says Das, explaining the logic behind the ‘Spell-Vocab’ challenge.

Jog the talk
While Delhi much is a branded milk consumer, the worry for Das is Mumbai, which he feels, consumes almost 50 per cent unbranded and adulterated milk of the 50 lakh litres milk that enters the city. “Milk distribution in Mumbai can be equalled to a mafia,” Das feels.  He sees great opportunity in converting people there to branded milk. While mobile vans are used in association with Resident Welfare Associations (RWAs), to educate consumers about the benefits of branded milk, milk tasting sessions are organised in parks to target the health conscious joggers. Under the programme, nearly 100 parks are covered in a span of 45 days in Delhi and Mumbai.

Mother Dairy had also tried to organise tasting sessions at kitty parties. However, Mother Dairy realised that it is usually the child or the male member of the house that is sent out by the lady of the house to buy milk. “She is usually busy with the morning chores at home,” Das adds.

The milk route
Another focus are for Mother Dairy is to strengthen its distribution channel and expand. While, it has more than 50,000 outlets across the country, it has 3,000 milk booths in Delhi alone, of which about 8,00 are under direct company control, about 750 are franchisees and another 1,500 are under the control of ex-servicemen (as a part of the Army re-employment programme).
To expand its base, Mother Dairy is mostly targeting the highways that connect with Delhi as it makes distribution easier. “Milk needs to travel in a route, so we need to cater to every town that we move in. So we have almost covered the highway from Delhi to Panchkula in Haryana.  The route includes cities like Sonepat, Panipat, Karnal, Kurukshetra and Chandigarh as well. We have also gone to Dehradun, the route to which includes Meerut, Haridwar, Rishikesh among the rest,” he says.

Apart from these regions, Mother Dairy also is trying to strengthen its presence around cities like Mumbai, Hyderabad and Chennai.

Booth capturing!
Mother Dairy is one milk company that sells the world’s largest branded loose milk. For it, the company since its inception in 1974 in Delhi introduced the token system to sell loose milk. According to Das, ‘Token milk’ is not just a convenient source of purchasing milk for consumers; it is also an environment friendly proposition on the part of the company. “Token milk saves 5.5 to 6 tonnes of plastic entering the Delhi market every day,” informs Das. Token milk accounts for 1/3rd of the daily production of milk in the city, which is around 10 lakh litres every day. This network is unique to the Delhi-NCR region.

Also, loose milk is the cheapest form of branded milk available. It is about Rs 2 cheaper than toned poly-pack milk. The price also makes it a favoured choice for the Bottom of Pyramid (BOP), which also is one of the the target groups of Mother Dairy for the booth network.

In terms of spreading its reach in the Delhi-NCR region, another distribution network is a unique property of Mother Dairy. Insulation container outlets are set up in areas where four wheelers cannot reach. With a capacity of 200 to 600 litres, Loni and Wazirabad in Delhi are two of the places where one can spot these containers. Almost 3 lakh litres of loose branded milk is distributed through this channel every day. There are around 1,600 such containers but the network is limited to the Delhi-NCR region only.

The company is hoping to add about 700 outlets (350 each) in Delhi and Mumbai in 2012.

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Jyotsna Sharma

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