Can Milk analogues hurt India’s quest as World’s leading exporter of Milk?

Pashu Sandesh, 19th November 2018

At a recently concluded World Dairy Summit in South Korea, the buzz word was the strong march of Indian Dairy sector toward becoming the largest Milk exporter in the World. The strong sentiment among the participating nations denotes the supremacy of Indian Dairy sector for the highest annual turnover of the milk which is pegged at more than 170 Million Metic Tonnes (MMT).

India has achieved this high turnover since the operation flood through systematic development , upgradation, procurement and processing capabilities. This meteoric rise has also created the problem of surplus and the downward spiralling of the procurement prices which has created unrest among Milk producing Farmers and subsequent demonstrations across various States. As a knee-jerk reaction and to douse down unrest various Governments announced incentives and continued procurements despite huge inventories of milk in the form of milk powder lying with the cooperatives. With global Milk pricing taking a hit since last two years prospect of export at a competitive rate is a tough task in the absence of Government incentives.

As if surplus milk problem was not enough the problem of increasing trend of Milk Analogues use among consumer has started posing a new challenge for the prospect of increasing exports.

What are milk analogues?

More and more people are looking for alternatives for dairy products. Especially in drinks there are many options, based on soya, rice, nuts, seeds etc. Through a notification dated 6th December 2016, the FSSAI had proposed amendments in the Food Safety and Standards (Food Products Standards and Food Additives) Regulations, 2011 related to DAIRY PRODUCTS AND ANALOGUES.

Why it could hurt Indian Milk export prospects?

As per Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF) Managing Director, RS Sodhi dairy analogues are creating unhealthy price competition. “Dairy analogues are making it difficult for us to sell our dairy products. This affects the livelihood of dairy farmers because if we sell our products at a low price (on a par with the analogues), we will not be able to pay adequate prices to our milk producers,” he adds.

GCMMF has made several representations to the FSSAI to curb the use of analogues and formulate rules for them. It has also suggested draft rules for packaging and labelling dairy products. “To earn more, you need to give more—both to your suppliers and consumers” says Sodhi.That’s the only way the dairy sector will continue to be the prime contributor to the Indian economy.