Although Indians’ palates have a liking for variety, milk is a staple that has takers from a toddler to a senior citizen. However, with millennials mostly choosing healthy snacks over junk, milk has been underserved as a functional drink. Trying to give a makeover to this ancient food, retailers like Amul, KMF and some startups like Goodness! are changing the way the dairy beverage serves the young consumers. “Milk is mostly considered as a kid’s drink and we want to change the way millennials consume milk,” says Lakshmi Dasaka, the co-founder of dairy beverage Goodness! The Bengaluru-based startup has over 1 lakh loyal consumers who depend on an oats smoothie or a flavoured yogurt when they think of snacking something healthy.“Goodness! is a functional drink and not just a health drink,” Lakshmi adds.
SAYING YES TO MILK
Whether at home or out of home, dairy beverages have traditionally been a large part of Indian households. From a lassi to flavoured buttermilk, dairy beverages are available in many sizes, shapes and packets. However, only 22% of the milk and dairy products consumed in India are in branded form, while branded dairy-based beverages form a market size of Rs 1,280 crore, growing at 30% annually, as per reports of 2016. “It is one of the fastest growing beverage segments in the Indian market and is likely to become a billion dollar (Rs 6,000+ crore) market by FY2021 with three major categories – flavoured milk, chaas and lassi and functional yogurt drinks. Flavoured milk dominates the segment, contributing 60% in value to the branded dairy beverages’ segment,” states a consumer and retail study by Tata.
“While brands like Cavins, Amul and even KMF are tapping the market with new products, the milk-based product segment is mostly underserved when compared to global counterparts,” observes Lakshmi, adding, “Although the new-age consumer has evolved and his or her preferences are well-researched as they are connected to the global market on a real-time basis, there are only a handful players in the domestic market, while for example in the brewed cold coffee segment alone there could be some 50 other players in the US.” New-age brands like Keventers or Frozen Bottle may have entered the market aggressively and focusing on FORMpan-India expansion, but they are indulgent drinks which may not appeal to the calorie-conscious consumer.
“There is huge shift in the way a consumer wants to drink a milk-based product, and keeping in tandem with the trend, we are eliminating sugar from all our products,” she says. Interestingly, Goodness! was also the only Indian finalist in the World Dairy Innovations Award 2018. Its oats smoothie won appreciation for innovation.
CHANGING CONSUMER NEEDS
So what does the millennial consumer expect when buying a dairy beverage? “Convenience, branding and naturalness,” the consumer and retail report suggests. “Consumers want something healthy and at the same time it should not take away most of their time in preparation of the drink. Also, they want branded drinks for on-the-go consumption instead of unhygienic, non-branded products. Meanwhile, milk is considered a healthy drink and all natural products like milk have the potential to appeal to the young consumer, who doesn’t prefer added sugar or artificial products,” it says.
TAPPING NEW PLATFORMS
In a bid to be available at all times and everywhere, even if a consumer can’t walk up to a supermarket to pick up a bottle of the drink, Goodness! has partnered with Swiggy to deliver their drink within 30 to 40 minutes’ duration. “We want to be at the intersection of health and convenience. Further, we will also tap the impulse purchase market by being available in play arenas, multiplexes, airports and even workplaces and schools,” Lakshmi says. Further, the report also predicts that there is market for such products in Tier II cities and rural areas while new innovative packaging methods and new products can increase the demand for such products.