Amul is badass. That girl mascot has earned her punk, bright-blue hair. On its website, the Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF) proudly says that it was born out of protest. Its ads have offended a ruling government, invited the wrath of a political party, nettled cricket czars and even taken the wind out of British Airways (or ‘Errways’ as the brand called it). Besides its tongue-in-cheek messaging, the brand has stayed on top of the game with an enviable supply chain and sensible product line.
More recently, around 2010, it has realised the market needs it to be more than clever and efficient. The market needs Amul to have more sparkle — in the form of product innovation. So, the brand is out mining diamonds. Though multiplying revenue is the focus, Amul is hoping that the new line will also keep the brand relevant.
About five minutes into our meeting with RS Sodhi, he interrupts the discussion. The MD of GCMMF (Amul) wants us to sample one of their newer launches — Irish Drink. It resembles Baileys Irish Cream, he says, “bilkul waisa hi”. It is like Willy Wonka offering the visiting children a tipple. But we take two shots of it, yes, it is served in shot glasses and he is right. It tastes like the cocoa-flavoured liqueur, except it is a fine blend of rich milk cream, coffee, chocolate, hazelnut and caramel (0% alcohol content).
Launched last summer, the 200 ml can priced at Rs.40 serves as a ‘cool’ alternative to carbonated beverages and is sold mostly through online channels. There is also Kadhai Doodh, Haldi Doodh and Camel Milk. “They have a small, but fast-growing share of our total turnover,” he says. But more importantly, he adds, they help in contemporising the brand.
Inside a glass cupboard, in its headquarters in Anand, Gujarat, is an impressive display of products that are still being tested. They include chocolate-coated almonds, chocolate nankhatai, breads and a whole range of cookies, juices and ice-cream sandwiches in a variety of flavours. While milk, ice-cream and butter continue to remain its mainstay, Amul has ventured into several utterly (butterly in some cases) delicious categories. The additional product ran