Packaged Milk: Tetra Pak Hopes To Ride On Ready-to-drink Boom

Kolkata: | Updated: Jun 27 2003, 05:30am hrs
Tetra Pak India Ltd, the liquid food packaging solutions company, is banking on a boom in the ready-to-drink speciality packaged milk market to drive sales of its bacteria-free packaging materials. The company has also undertaken an awareness programme and other below-the-line activities to educate the masses on its products.

Tetra Pak India marketing director Surendran Menon told FE that the ready-to-drink packaged milk market has a big potential and will see many segmentations in years to come. There are many categories within milk, like milk for lactating mothers and flavoured milk that will be coming to India soon. We anticipate a surge in demand for our products then, Mr Menon said.

Of late flavoured milk has made its mark in India with several key dairy companies like Britannia, Nestle, Amul and Verka among others having launched RTD flavoured milk variants to tap the market. According to Mr Menon, Tetra Pakwhich solely caters to this segment offering its Tetra Fino Aseptic packagingwill be the biggest beneficiary.

Tetra Pak India, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Tetra Pak International, with operations in 165 countries first came up with only one packaging solution in Indiathe Tetra Brik Aseptic cartons which found low acceptance among fruit juice and edible oil makers. Gradually, it offered more products but it was the brand Frooti that made Tetra Pak a generic name in India.

Tetra Pak India expects a turnover of Rs 380 crore during the current year.

According to Mr Menon, India is the largest milk-producing country in the world with an annual production of 84 billion litres of milk but the per capita consumption of packaging is a meagre half a carton a year.

Bangladesh has a per capita consumption of one carton while in Pakistan it is 10 cartons a year. Its time this changed and we are undertaking a series of activities to change that, Mr Menon said.

To begin with, Tetra Pak has earmarked a budget of Rs 4.5 crore to intensify an awareness campaign on TV aimed at mothers with children where the company will talk about the benefits of Tetra Pak packaging and the hygiene factor associated with it. As a next step, the company will conduct a series of contact programmes with the same purpose. Finally, it has identified 543 shops in 10 cities where merchandising will spread the same message.

To some extent, Tetra Pak will be assisted by its clients in its efforts like the Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation which has launched Amul Taaza in Tetra Pak. For the time-being, our focus will be on spreading awareness and waiting for the market to graduate into Tetra Paks, Mr Menon said.

Tetra Pak,with a capacity of 2.5 billion packs a year, caters to Nepal and Bhutan, apart from India. The company exports a chunk of its Tetra Fino packs to China.