Probiotoc drink maker Yakult Danone India is expecting India to be one of its leading market on global scale in the coming years as the company is enhancing its sales network. Yakult Danone India, a 50:50 JV between Japan based Yakult Honsha and Groupe Danone of France, today roped in Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty as its brand ambassador as it plans to promote health benefits about the product. Besides, the company, which has so far invested Rs 350 crore to set up a manufacturing facility in Sonepat, Haryana has plans to invest further to enhance its production capacity, said Yakult Danone India MD Minoru Shimada.
On being asked whether India would be among top 10 global markets for Yakult, Shimada said: “Currently, it is not but of course India has a high potential to be one of the best markets of the world. Not only because of the population but also due to support of government also”. He further added: “India with a population of more than 1.2 billion ranks very high in our list of priorities”.
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The company also has plans to expand its foot print beyond the leading metro markets as it is expecting that the refrigeration facilities in those tier II & III markets would improve in coming years.
“Currently, we are focusing only on metropolitan cities and since the brand needs expansion, we are going to phase to phase expansion,” Shimada said.
He further added:” With the celebrity endorsement, it would help us to accelerate in some more cities as tier II & III cities”. Yakult Danone India has currently present in 14 metro markets. It has 19 sales office and has plans to add some more to expand its distribution network.
“We would add 2-3 more sales office in couple of years,” he said.
Presently, the company has production capacity to produce 1.6 lakh bottles per day and is going to increase it further as it is expecting demand to go up.
“We would expand the production capacity by 30 to 50 per cent in couple of years,” he said, adding that presently it is manufacturing 1.6 lakh bottles of 65 ml every day.
However, he did not shared the amount which the company would invest in its Sonepat facility.
Besides, Yakult is also considering to export its probiotic drinks to neighbouring countries as Sri Lanka and Nepal in coming years.
“Our product shelf life is very limited like other products. We have not exported from here but there is possibility to export to neighbouring countries such as Sri Lanka and Nepal,” he said.