Monday, July 11, 2005

Amul - the taste of India

Amul, the milk conglomerate (actually they are a cooperative) is at it again. Amul is the leader in the butter segment, ice cream segment (if you want to split it into premium and low end, go ahead, their ice creams are better any which way) and is pretty much the last word as far as milk goes in India.

Checked out a chaas (spicy buttermilk) launched by them under the name of Masti. At 5 rupees for 200 ml, it is a brilliant price point, since any other fruit drink (loaded with sugar,flavour, whatnot, mind you) comes at no less than 10 rupees. The drink is available in a tetra pack ( and I am pretty sure the pack costs atleast 10 times more than the content inside) and tastes good. ( Some of my friends claim that the Nilgiri's (another brand) buttermilk is a shade better). This is part of how Amul has entered Indian households with its great brand name and is chipping away at all those things that used to be made at home. Buttermilk, I am sure, will still get made at home, but reaching out for buttermilk on a hot summer day, beats reaching out for expensive (relatively) Coke or Pepsi anytime.

While on Amul, let me go a bit further since Amul has always interested me with its strategy. Nobody gave Amul a chance when it launched ice creams. Kwality Walls (of HLL) which was the leader, now hides in a "premium" segment. All they used was the tagline "Real milk, real ice cream" since Kwality Walls used vegetable oil (of all things) to make ice cream. Lower price points, great distribution reach, good flavours and they were the leader.

Amul then launched pizzas, mozarella cheese and other variants and the analysts scoffed at them. Amul may not have set the market on fire with this idea, but here too they have made inroads into Indian homes. Spicy butter milk is just another of their "capturing the world of milk" (my comment) plan. They are also diversifying into various other categories like soups, sweets and so on. Amul, with its "Taste of India" (with brilliant ads always) is perhaps a great vehicle to introduce branded Indian dishes overseas. With their moppet mascot led simply great print ads (no expensive endorsements, no stars), they can endear to anybody.


Sunil said...

Amul's story has been fantastic, and I can't agree with you more.

I only have one crib.....they should NEVER have made those awful chocolates that had too much wax and sugar :-(

Neelakantan said...

I completely agree. And if you observe, I have not mentioned chocolates at all in my post!

Jayesh said...

Completely agree with this one. Amul is spot on as usual with all classical ingredients of great Indian marketing. A great product that is an integral part of the Indian consumer habits, a great price point between the nimbu pani and the soft drink and good distribution. Their ice-creams have so much variety and Indian taste (e.g. Rajbhog ice-cream ) that they beat HLL which almost acquired all competition hands down. Frozen desert or frozen ideas.

Watch out for ITC they also seem to be getting a lot of things right. Pasta treat is doing pretty well.