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How marketers are positioning yogurt as health food

Last updated on: March 17, 2011 14:46 IST

How marketers are positioning yogurt as health food

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Priyanka Singh

Just a week ago, the Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF), owners of Amul, launched what it called an "all-natural probiotic vitamins fortified flavoured yogurt" under the brand name 'Flaavyo'.

The product, Amul says, has all natural ingredients such as fruit pulp, natural flavour, live probiotic bacteria and essential vitamins. Initially, Amul Flaavyo yogurt is being introduced in five flavours Mango, Strawberry, Pineapple, Vanilla and Misti Doi.

Amul is only the latest in a series of such launches by yogurt makers who are all trying to reposition their products from just a "meal accompaniment" to a stand-alone breakfast option or a health dessert.

The results of all these efforts are showing. The packaged yogurt market in India is around 60, 000 tonnes and growing at a healthy rate of 15-20 per cent annually.

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Amul's MD RS Sodhi says, "Our yogurt drinks in one litre packs (family packs) have become very popular in modern retail formats and are witnessing huge demand. In India, packed fruit yogurt market is still in a nascent stage, but is growing very fast."

If Amul represents one end of the spectrum, relatively smaller players in the yogurt market are also moving in fast.

For example, Cocoberry, a frozen yogurt chain, recently introduced an innovative product called 'Parfait', which is frozen and clubbed with cereals and has been positioned as a healthy breakfast option.

This came close on the heels of 'Blackberry' yogurt. Encouraged by the response, Cocoberry, which started its operations two years ago, now plans to launch another exotic flavour Tiramissu very soon.

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Cocoberry CEO GS Bhalla says the market is witnessing a huge shift from conventional products to yogurt drinks and functional foods, specifically targeted at children.

Innovative and premium products such as bio yogurts, or yogurt enriched with juice and fruits are finding favour among consumers. The company is expecting 400 per cent growth this year.

Others such as Nestle, Danon, Parag Milk Foods and Mother Dairy are also not far behind in grabbing the latest opportunity in the health and wellness space.

Sanjay Sinha, Head-Milk and Dairy Products business, Mother Dairy Fruit and Vegetable, says the company will strengthen its yogurt-based drinks portfolio this season with differentiated products and format offerings.

Mother Dairy is present in the Delhi and Mumbai markets with plain and probiotic curd 'b-Activ', yogurt drinks like lassi, chach in the Delhi NCR market and a probiotic drink under the 'Nutrifit' brand.

Sinha says the organised part of the yogurt industry is less than 10 per cent of the potential and is growing at about 20 per cent.

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Last year, the world's no 1 dairy company Danone also arrived in India with its wide range of plain and flavored yogurts -'Danon Dahi' across super marts and grocery stores in Mumbai and Pune, affordably priced at Rs 27 for 400 gm and Rs 14 for 150 gm.

Apart from its latest fruit-flavoured yogurts, Amul recently launched 200 ml pouch of Amul probiotic lassi priced at Rs 6 in the Gujarat markets.

Sodhi adds, "We now plan to launch it all across India in foil covered plastic glasses at Rs 10." Amul's portfolio also contains misti dahi, probiotic dahi and light low-fat dahi.

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Photographs: Reuters
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Competing in the same space, Nestle's basket offers 'Milkmaid fruit yogurts' range in strawberry and mango variants along with its 'fresh 'n' natural dahi' as well as 'slim dahi', 'jeera raita' and 'Nesvita dahi'.  Nestl claims its fruit yogurts are 98 per cent fat free.

Some of the players are already looking at the international markets. Cocoberry, for example, is in advanced stages of discussions to finalise locations in some south east Asian countries as well as in West Asia.

Parag Milk Foods is doing the same. Rahul Akkara, VP-Marketing, Parag Milk Foods, says, "yogurt contains natural bacteria and is a healthy eating option. As we scale up our business, we will look at spreading our operations to more diversified markets in India as well internationally. We need to cater to a larger section of the Indian diaspora who are deeply rooted to their traditional Indian cuisine."

 



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