Market opportunities as Indians trend away from milk

By Ankush Chibber

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Milk Drink

Milk no longer the favoured Indian drink, opening up market opportunities
Milk no longer the favoured Indian drink, opening up market opportunities
Indians are slowly weaning themselves away from milk, which has long been the favoured drink of both urban and rural customers, a new survey has revealed.

The ‘Share of Wallet’ report from India’s National Sample Survey office revealed that the current generations of Indians are losing their personal and cultural preference for milk and milk products.

According to the report, Indians are consequently spending less and less money on milk and milk products from their grocery budget and this is true across the urban and rural divide.

The report revealed that the expenditure share on milk in rural areas has slipped from 8.8% in 1999-2000 to 8.6% during 2009-2010, while urban Indian also cut their spend on milk from 8.7% in 1999-2000 to 7.8% during 2009-2010.

Mumbai-based nutritionist Mrinalini Manral told FoodNavigator-Asia that this decreasing affinity for milks could have a major effect of food and beverage brands in the country.


“I suspect this is very good news for the makers of packaged fruit juices, energy drinks, and other non-aerated drinks which can be associated with good health,”​ Manral said, adding that milk dairies would not welcome this report.

She pointed out that the spending drop was higher in the urban areas than the rural areas, where a booming economy and penetration of western lifestyles have led citizens to other options than milk.

“It is a matter of exposure. Young Indians, those in the 20s, have been brought up with milk, which they have been told is healthy. But now they see other healthy beverage options and would question why they should drink milk,”​ she said.

Manral’s claim is backed up by other data from the NSSO, which reveals that urban Indians increased the spending on beverages from 6.2% in 2004-2005 to 6.3% during 2009-2010. 

Rural India observed a sharp growth in spend on beverages from 4.5% in 20004-05 to 5.6% during 2009-2010, which Mrinalini claimed was indicative of how deeply food and beverage brands have penetrated.

R. Jannardhan, a Mumbai-based dairy and food products distributor gave a field level endorsement to the report’s findings. “Retailers prefer health drinks and juices over milk drinks in Mumbai. They are easily consumable and are clearer with their health benefits,”​ he said.

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