Groupe Danone has begun test-marketing flavoured milk in India, marking the French food multinational’s entry into the country after a prolonged two-year battle with the Nusli Wadia group.
The brand, Danone Choco Plus milk, is priced at Rs 15 for a 200-ml tetra packs and being tested in Hyderabad.
Danone will now take on Amul’s Kool, Nestle’s Milkmaid Funshake and its erstwhile joint venture Britannia’s Actimind with its Choco Plus.
“Danone intends to undertake a national rollout and launches in other categories in phases. It is not in a hurry,” an official with direct knowledge of the development said. An email query sent to Danone India, a wholly owned subsidiary of the world's largest fresh dairy producer, remained unanswered. The company’s operations in the country are now restricted to about 50 people.
While the milk beverages category in India is small, though growing, at Rs 200 crore, the owners of brands such as Danone yogurts, Evian mineral water and Blédina baby food will bring in more brands into the country.
In fact, in June last, when it finally got the government’s permission to launch a number of food products, Danone had said that it wanted to infuse about Rs 330 crore over the next few years.
Before that, in April, Danone exited Britannia, the country’s largest biscuit maker, by selling its 25.48 per cent stake in the company to its joint venture partner Nusli Wadia group after a bitter two-year boardroom battle.