National Milk Day: Making alternative options like Camel, Donkey milk popular; Aadvik Foods’ Shrey Kumar responds

‘Camel Milk, which is suitable for lactose intolerant individuals, is rich in vitamins, minerals, insulin, and unsaturated fatty acids.’

National Milk Day, Alternative Milk, Camel Milk, Donkey Milk, Aadvik Foods, Shrey Kumar, Camel milk Ghee chocolate
'Donkey Milk, which is found to be closest to human breast milk, is recommended by doctors to a few people who cannot digest regular milk well.'

Owing to the health benefits, unique dairy alternatives like camel milk, goat milk, soy milk, almond milk are now being used as an everyday drink. Consumers are willing to spend more on a product that promises undeniable health benefits. Thus, the demand for these alternative milk is slated to increase in the coming years. In addition, different sales channels and the rising importance of internet retailing is adding impetus to the Indian dairy alternative market. With these developments, it brings us to an important question: can the alternative milk industry compete with the decade-old dairy industry? Aadvik Foods’ Co-founder Shrey Kumar responded to this question and more. Excerpt:

Do you see a growing demand for the alternate milk market in India?

According to a recent report, the Indian Dairy alternative market stood at $20.9 million in 2018 and is projected to grow at a CAGR of 20.7% to reach $63.9 million by 2024.

The online distribution channel is anticipated to expand at the fastest CAGR of 8.6% from 2020 to 2027 on account of increasing familiarity and dependence of generation X, millennials, and generation Z on the internet and e-commerce. Players in the industry are diversifying their product lines.

We, at Aadvik Foods have been witnessing double digit growth in our sales for these unique milk categories (Camel and Goat Milk) and around 60% customers are new. 

What are the key benefits that pull a consumer towards these alternative milk options?

Camel Milk, which is suitable for lactose intolerant individuals, is rich in vitamins, minerals, insulin, and unsaturated fatty acids. Apart from being low-fat, it is beneficial for those suffering from chronic diseases, such as diabetes and autism, and also boosts general immunity. 

Armed with this information, the founders decided to popularize Camel Milk as a superfood in the country.

Goat Milk is similar to cow milk in terms of basic composition. Anti inflammatory properties found in Goat Milk helps control gut inflammation and is also great for people with poor digestion as it doesn’t cause any gastric, acidity or constipation issues. Goat Milk can be consumed by a person suffering from dengue with the intention of maintaining bodily fluids, as a platelet transfusion from the outside may not always be possible. 

Donkey Milk, which is found to be closest to human breast milk, is recommended by doctors to a few people who cannot digest regular milk well. The milk contains essential fatty acids that work as powerful anti-aging and healing properties, these properties together make it a rich ingredient when it comes to skin treatment which is further witnessing a huge demand from pharma & skincare industry.

Tell us about Aadvik Foods, its product portfolio and what kind of response you have been receiving for each of your categories?

Aadvik Foods is the first and leading company to launch, process, brand, and market the three unique milk alternatives in India – Camel Milk, Goat Milk and Donkey Milk. Adding incessantly to its premium quality product range, it offers 100% Natural Camel Milk Powder, Camel Colostrum, Camel Ghee, Camel Milk Chocolates, 100% Natural Goat Milk Powder & Donkey Milk Powder. We are also focussing to create Camel milk, Goat Milk & Donkey Milk skincare range. 

The brand was created with the knowledge that Camel Milk has superior health benefits that surpass all other dairy alternatives in the market. Apart from delivering quality Camel Milk-based products to customers, Aadvik Foods is also focused on maintaining the camel population in the country. As an indigenous brand, it directly deals with camel & goat herders from Rajasthan and Gujarat to source its raw material and supports a sustainable livelihood for them. 

People slowly but steadily have been warming up to camel and goat milk, which has given us as a brand the confidence to launch more and more value added products.

Hitesh Rathi & Shrey Kumar

Considering its perishable nature and its shelf life, how do you ensure quality control during logistics?

We use Freeze Drying technology to convert liquid milk to powder form. Freeze drying technology helps in increasing its shelf life at the same time retaining nutritions of these types of milk. 

Freeze Drying, also known as Lyophilization, is a process whereby a small amount of the product is frozen and then put under vacuum, which helps in preserving everything. It seems to be the perfect method, as it even allows you to travel with it, without any hassle. With more benefits, it can be said to be completely safe for consumption. Also it is lightweight, has no preservatives, majority of the nutritional value is retained through the method and there is no requirement of energy or electricity to consume it.

We are the first company in India to use freeze-drying technology to manufacture any milk powder for its benefit. Our products are freeze-dried to ensure that the quality of our products is premium. Freeze-drying ensures that the minerals, nutrients, and quality of the milk powder remain unaltered.

You recently launched camel milk chocolates, which is quite niche; what response have you been receiving from the consumers?

We have recently Launched our Camel Milk Chocolates made with 100% Natural & Premium ingredients. It is made with Richness of camel milk, khandsari sugar (Unrefined organic raw sugar), and premium quality cocoa beans from Iduki, kerala. What differentiates our chocolates from others is that we haven’t used any additives or preservatives while making our chocolates. While most of the brands use vegetable oils in our chocolates, we have used pure cocoa butter to bring out that smooth texture.

 Aadvik Camel Milk Chocolates are available in three different variants: Classic, Roasted Almond & Coffee. The response on the chocolates has been impressive and people are eager to try it out of curiosity but when they taste it, they feel good about the balanced sweetness with a little bit of saltiness and the creamy texture.  

Any plans to cater your products  to the HoReCa segment?

Since the product is quite niche, we are planning to target 5-Star International Hotel chains with Camel Milk Chocolates first and then with RTD sachets of Camel Milk. 

From luxury chocolates to ice creams to cappuccinos, Camel Milk provides a unique flavour and authentic taste. Well-travelled audiences might see it as a usual ingredient on menus in Cafes & Restaurants in the cities of the United Arab Emirates and we are looking forward to creating a similar space in India for Camel Milk Products. 

We are also planning to collaborate with coffee chains to develop interesting products with Camel Milk & Coffee – the combination is famous like the bond between Joey & Chandler. 

Tell us about your social media marketing strategies?

The key to success on social media is through regular content creation and building a community. Our focus is to educate people about lifestyle diseases & how healthy food habits can help them reverse or manage these lifestyle problems.

Recently with the launch of camel milk chocolate we are focusing on building #TheGoodChocolate campaign across our social media channels like Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn and Facebook. We have done aggressive influencer marketing by engaging with 2 Category A influencers, 20 Macro & 300 micro influencers.

As Tier-II and III cities are turning to be the big markets, tell us about your brand strategy to reach out to those markets? 

We are targeting tier II cities (Jaipur, Jaisalmer, Patna, Udaipur, etc.) as well through online channels, be it giants like amazon or new hyper local delivery startups.

How has 2021 been for your brand in terms of growth and revenue and what are your expectations for 2022?

Till 2019, Aadvik Foods had only one category – Camel Milk, post which we introduced Goat Milk in 2020 and Donkey Milk in 2021. Even after the other categories were launched, today Camel Milk contributes to 80% of the business value. Camel Milk category takes the major pie out of 8Cr revenue with 6.5 Cr. From 4.5 Cr in 2019 to more than 9 cr in 2021 of turnover, Aadvik has seen a steady growth despite the pandemic. Currently, the company receives more than 400 orders on a daily basis for Camel Milk and other milk-based products.

Even though the sudden outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 disrupted milk production and supply, we witnessed a 50% rise in sales (online + offline) of our brand products as more consumers embraced healthier diets.

Aadvik has also witnessed an increase in online presence from 5 online platforms to more than 15 today such as Healthkart, 1mg, CoraHealth, Smytten, etc. We were already listed with major platforms like Amazon & Flipkart, after that we started focussing on the specific platforms which deal in products related to the health category.

Also, we aim to double our offline presence by 2022. Due to the pandemic, the growth of online presence went up in comparison to offline presence, but nevertheless we are looking forward to launching our new range of consumer products like Chocolates & Skincare at the offline stores soon when things get better. We have been a bootstrapped business from the beginning and have been profitable from the first year by keeping the operations tight. But now to accelerate the growth by 100% & execute the offline plans, we will be looking for some strategic investors. 

Post launching camel, goat and donkey milk, where do you see your brand in the next 3 years?

We believe that Goat Milk has huge potential similar to Camel Milk and it will be another growth driver for us. 65% of the global population drink Goat Milk and we have already discussed the gut-related benefits of this magic creamy potion. With more and more people getting gut issues with existing dairy products, it’s an everyday growing market.

Along with the core basic products – we will also be focussing largely on Value-Added FMCG Products like Chocolates, Icecream, cheese and Skincare Range made with unique milks. We are also targeting to expand our reach to both Online and offline places.

We aim to clock an annual sale figure of Rs.100 Cr by 2025.

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