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The co-operative corporate

How India’s biggest co-operative dairy Amul is scripting its growth strategy

Soumik Kar

Circa September 1995, Amul had just conducted its brand health survey, a ritual that the co-operative undertakes every year to understand where the brand stands in the mind of the consumer. One of the questions posed to the respondents that year was: What new products do you want from Amul? The answers varied from more varieties of butter to milk in larger packs but one particular response caught the attention of the top brass — that for Amul ice-cream.

The respondent had also put forth a strong reason: if a soap and detergent company like Hindustan Lever could sell ice-cream, what was holding back Amul, which was already in milk, butter and cheese. It was only a year earlier in 1994 that the Anglo-Dutch multinational had introduced Walls to complement its acquisition of Milkfood and Kwality ice-cream brands. Amul decided to plunge in, launching its ice-cream in March 1996, first in Gujarat and then moving on to Mumbai and Chennai the following year. It was available in most parts of the country by end-1999 and today, Amul commands a 40% share of the ₹1,800 crore organised ice-cream and desserts market. “Ice cream has been a huge success for us and continues to grow at least 19% each year.

If Amul is successful today, it is because: one, we react to consumer preferences quickly and two, we have the utmost trust of our producers,” says Rupinder Singh Sodhi, managing director, Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF), which owns the Amul brand. That consumer feedback wasn’t rocket science but it altered the course of the milk co-operative irreversibly feels Sodhi, an Amul sales and marketing veteran of 30 years. Incidentally, Hindustan Unilever today trails Amul with a 18% marketshare.

Growing tall and strong

Amul’s topline grew at 17.5% CAGR over

the past decade

Having closed FY13 with a turnover of ₹13,735 crore, the management is targeting ₹17,500 crore in the current fiscal but the next big leap in Sodhi’s words, “will be to get to ₹30,000 cro

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