South Asia radius

Flavoured milk’s popularity soars as Indians seek on-the-go nutrition

By RJ Whitehead

- Last updated on GMT

© iStock
© iStock

Related tags Sri lanka

India’s flavoured milk segment has been seeing a significant level of interest, with the category having attracted 43% of all dairy drink launches last year.

This amounts to more than double the figure recorded in 2012, and the trend is set to continue with a similar proportion continuing to launch so far this year.

According to the Mintel, the market cannot get enough new flavoured milks. The global market analyst has found that 72m litres were consumed in 2015—up from 55m litres in 2012.

At the same time, retail sales grew by 40%, reaching INR8bn (US$125.5m) in 2015, from 2012’s INR5.7bn.

Ranjana Sundaresan, Mintel’s global food and drink analyst, said most Indian dairy players  now feature some form of flavoured milk in their ranges.

Moreover, companies not typically associated with dairy have been getting in on the act.

Much of the category’s retail growth can be attributed to the fact that urban Indian consumers are opening up to value-added dairy, particularly for its convenience and health benefits​. 

The popularity of packaged flavoured milk in India is also due to consumers’ preference for assurance of safety​,” she added.

Mintel research finds that 64% of pre-packaged dairy drink consumers agree that ready-to-drink dairy beverages are healthy, and 48% say they provide them with energy. 

"Given growing health concerns, urban consumers are swapping carbonated soft drinks and even juices for flavoured milk​,” said Sundaresan, adding that parents with adolescent children now provide a strong opportunity for manufacturers.

There is potential for innovation on flavours, formats and formulations that are in sync with what will appeal to children while fulfilling nutritional requirements—an important feature for parents​.”

Looking ahead, manufacturers will find growing opportunities from morning consumption, with more than a quarter of dairy drinks now being consumed for breakfast, according to Mintel research.

Breakfast presents an opportunity for companies in the dairy industry, but currently very few launches highlight this positioning​,” said Sundaresan. 

Consumers don’t have the time for a sit-down breakfast these days, and are looking for convenient food and drink options that keep them full and nourished while on the move​.” 

This opens up avenues for value-added, fortified, on-the-go dairy innovations that achieve satiety and provide breakfast nutrition, she added.

More from South Asia…

Food sector attracts over 40% of Sri Lankan SMEs

More than 40% of Sri Lankan small- and medium-sized businesses are now engaged in food processing, prompting the government to begin construction of a food testing centre aimed at village producers.


According to minister of industry and commerce Rishad Bathiudeen, food SMEs employ 1.5m of Sri Lanka’s 21m population, making the segment “highly significant​” to Sri Lanka’s economic planning.

Our ministry has allocated close to LKR195m [US$1.2m] for this year alone to enhance Sri Lanka’s food sector in many projects. The most important project is the setting up of Sri Lanka’s first accredited food laboratory for SMEs​,” Bathiudeen said. 

The Centre for Food Analysis and Food Safety will cost LKR140m and will test products from across Sri Lanka. It will use both the local SLS and international ISO standards. 

The efforts are part of a bigger plan to link food processing to the country’s export market, the minister added.

According to the Export Development Board, food shipments jumped by 112% in the last financial year to US$240.5m, led by processed fruits and vegetables, confectionary, bakery and processed foods. 

Yet SME food processing segment could be much bigger than the official figures suggest, said Maliek de Alwis, president of the Sri Lanka Food Processors Association. 

It could be more than 50% if we are to count the unregistered village-level food suppliers, urban restaurants, street-side small hotels and bakeries​,” he said. 

The Ministry’s efforts will be relevant to all of them​.”  

Britannia announces plans for Maharashtra mega-factory

Indian FMCG major Britannia Industries is planning to build a new plant at a mega food park in Maharashtra.


The plant, which will be Britannia’s biggest, will be constructed in Ranjangaon, 50km from Pune, and open in two years.

Chairman Nusli Wadia said the company had already secured 96 acres at the site and had applied for a further 48 acres.

He said the facility will have six lines for the production of biscuits, and one each for filled croissants, cakes, rusks, flour and dairy. 

It will employ 3,000 people, and will be the first to have a flour mill and integrated dairy with a capacity of 700,000 litres per day.

A proposed joint-venture plant with Greek company Chipita to manufacture croissants will also be located at the site. 

Wadia said the company’s focus would be on “Investments on new products and cost reduction​”.

With double-digit growth in rural areas, Britannia has seen rising profits and increasing market share over the last three years.

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