Between September 2017 and August 2018, close to 15% of all flavoured milk launches in India were in the chocolate category, reports Nitin Kumar
Are Indians becoming obsessed with chocolate drinks?
If one had to go by the number of new launches, chocolate is extending its lead over other flavours -- at least in the dairy market.
According to data sourced from Mintel GNPD, a global firm tracking product launches in the consumer goods sector, chocolate is the most attractive flavour when it comes to launches in the dairy space in India in recent times.
Between September 2017 and August 2018, close to 15 per cent of all flavoured milk launches in India were in the chocolate category.
Its share is almost 50 per cent higher than almond and strawberry that jointly held the second spot.
While almond and strawberry's share among the newly-launched flavoured milk market stood at 8 per cent each, mango and vanilla followed with a 6 per cent share each.
"With consumers opting for healthier and nutritional food alternatives, flavoured milk is emerging as one of the most preferred choices in the beverages space.
"The flavoured milk category is estimated to grow at a compounded annual growth rate of 25 per cent, outpacing the overall dairy industry growth rate.
"For Mother Dairy, chocolate happens to be one of the top contributors (about 1/3 of total sales) in the overall flavoured milk category," said Saugata Mitra, director, Mother Dairy Fruit & Vegetable Pvt Ltd.
According to the National Dairy Development Board, the flavoured milk market is expected to grow by 25.5 per cent till 2020, from 175 million litres in 2017.
The rate of growth would remain higher than the 22 per cent growth rate observed between 2013 and 2017.
"Dairy co-operatives are aggressively diversifying their products portfolio in value added segments like flavoured milk.
"The domestic market for flavoured as well as fermented milk like lassi and chaas (buttermilk) is growing at over 15 per cent a year," said Dilip Rath, chairman, NDDB.
As the popularity of flavoured milk grows rapidly, chocolate's share has also gone up during the past five years -- from 11 per cent in September 2013-August 2014, the report showed.
According to R S Sodhi, managing director, Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation, which markets the Amul brand of products, the rise of chocolate flavour is due to its acceptance among children and urban consumers.
"A lot of new flavours are coming to the Indian flavoured milk market but chocolate is the most-liked flavour among children and adults. People should be educated about the benefits of natural flavours like kesar, turmeric, cardamom, almond, etc," said Mridula Mahna, dietician, Lok Nayak Hospital, New Delhi.
The fate of other non-indigenous flavours is not the same.
Almond and strawberry -- the two attractive flavours after chocolate -- are seeing their growth slow down.
Data shows their share in new launches has come down during the past five years to eight per cent from 10 per cent and 19 per cent, respectively.
The share of butterscotch has fallen by eight percentage points to two per cent during the time.
According to Sodhi, Indian flavours like kesar, elaichi and rose are increasingly taking the front seat now.