Feature

These newbies are milking India’s tough dairy industry, which intimidated even MNCs

Milktech start-ups are branding premium produce and selling it through hyperlocal, farm-to-home chains

Shutterstock

Dairy industry in India is not for the milksops. It is a tough market that has baffled even biggies like France’s Danone, which shut shop after seven years, and New Zealand’s Fonterra, which exited a JV after a similar period. The biggest challenge has been the highly fragmented supply of milk; on an average, a dairy farmer here owns maybe two cows or buffaloes (a fraction of what a US farmer owns at 200-plus). Imagine a stickler for processes, like an MNC, organising this crowd (like a maitre d’hotel trying to manage a rowdy pub). It’s not pleasant. Perhaps, young companies with a flexible approach and powered by technology can do better.

After all, the dairy market is growing at a healthy pace. According to a latest IMARC Group report, titled Dairy Industry in India 2020, it is predicted to grow at 16% CAGR between 2020 and 2025, from Rs. 10.527 trillion to Rs.25.491 trillion.