Diversified conglomerate ITC Ltd is looking to widen its product portfolio in the dairy segment and tap the 'low' milk consumption in West Bengal, a company official said.
Per capita availability of milk in West Bengal is low, one-third of the national average of 427 grams per day, he said.
Sanjay Singal, Chief Operating Officer for dairy and beverages, ITC said, "We want to widen the range of dairy products from milk ghee, curd lassi, paneer. We keep studying consumers' requirements and accordingly launching new products. There are no nationwide fresh dairy players as one has to have a supply chain set up for everyday delivery."
We now have a presence in West Bengal and Bihar (for dairy business) and will continue to concentrate on these two states for the next few years. The two states currently contribute equally to its dairy business with around 50 percent share each, he said, adding that the company has a 10-15 percent share of the fresh dairy market in Kolkata.
"Milk consumption is one-third of the national average in Bengal. There is an opportunity for all players," he said.
The diversified conglomerate currently procures milk from around 10,000 farmers in West Bengal's Hooghly, Howrah, and Maldah, Singal said.
"Every category has had an inflationary headwind. We try to reduce pressure on consumers due to price increases and concentrate on efficiency to reduce costs in the value chain. There was an increase in milk prices across the country. We always try to minimize that impact. Everybody increased the price by an average of Rs 2 per liter and we also did the same thing," he added.
Dairy is the single largest agricultural commodity contributing 5 percent of the national economy and employing more than 8 crore farmers directly. India is ranked 1st in milk production contributing 23 percent of global milk production, according to the latest Economic Survey.
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