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Almond milk can replace milk in any cuisine: Rohit Bhagat

Health segment market in India is growing exponentially at about 25 percent and above. The consumers are looking at healthier and tastier options

Almond milk can replace milk in any cuisine: Rohit Bhagat

After tasting success of soya milk range, Life Health Foods has launched almond milk in India in the non-dairy alternative segment under the brand name Almond Fresh. Made from the highest quality Californian Almonds, the milk is rich source of Calcium B1 and B12 and Vitamin D, while being cholesterol and preservative free. Hence briefing about the factors that inspired the company to launch almond milk in India, Rohit Bhagat, Business Head, Life Health Foods (India) Pvt. Ltd. spoke to Restaurantindia.in.

What inspired you to introduce almond milk in India?
Well, health segment market in India is growing exponentially at about 25 percent and above. The consumers are looking at healthier and tastier options. Moreover, obesity and diabetes is a growing concern for Indians and hence we wanted to launch a product which is a health drink, which is low in calories and delicious at the same time. We feel if the product is healthy and does not cater to the taste, then the attention span of the consumer is limited. On the other hand when taste and health is combined, it’s a winning combination. Traditionally, almonds have always been popular in our culture for their richness and nutritive value.

Which are the different flavours of milk available and what are their healthy properties?
We have three flavours natural (unsweetened), chocolate and vanilla and it comes in two pack sizes 200ml and 1 ltr. Almond Milk is natural unsweetened, to be precise it is much lower in calories than regular milk and even Slim Milk. Flavoured almond milk is also much lower in calories than flavoured regular milk. It is a good source of calcium, B1 and B12. It has been naturally fortified to cater to the daily needs of vitamins and minerals.

Almond milk can be combined with which cuisines?
The best thing about Almond Milk is that it can replace any milk in any cuisine. So be it Indian or continental, it can always fit in. I have had some lovely smoothies and even kheer made from almond milk.

Why did you leveraging the iconic image of Brett Lee to endorse the brand?
Bret Lee has a huge fan following in India and he does a lot of social work here. In the long run we want to do activities with him, where as a company we contribute to the society. We respect and celebrate the infinite value created in each of us, by genuinely caring for the health, hope and happiness of every person. Our TG can be anyone, from a child to an aged person because of variety of benefits that almond milk has. While marketing, we look at reaching all average Indian ladies who cares for hers as well as her family’s health and at the same time is knowledgeable.

What is your observation on consumers moving fast towards positive and conscious lifestyle choices?
Consumers are more aware today, as compared to few years back, Thanks to the digital world and latest travel trends. People nowadays love to travel and are exposed to international trends. We don’t crave for foreign brands as we used to at one point of time, but if there is a chance, many consumers can become early adopters. Hence, you can see many people moving towards positive and conscious lifestyle like cereals, healthy oil, air fryers, fitness bands, whole wheat bread etc. Because of awareness created by various means, consumers can now read labels on a pack and decide if it’s good for them or not, which is actually good and positive for brands like us.

At what retail points the milk will be available at in the country? How many QSR's and hotels you are supplying to?
We are placed in 17 cities in terms of presence. Both, Soya Milky and Almond Fresh sell in almost every modern trade and A Class outlets. Many star hotels also use our soya milk and almond milk as beverages and also as an ingredient for their dishes which is quite exciting.

What is the competition like in the non-dairy alternative segment?
Competition will always be tough, but we innovate and want to launch products which are beneficial for consumers and we have a huge innovation set up in Australia and New Zealand, wherein we can develop some very relevant products suited for the Indian consumer. We have complete trust in our products and are sure we will be liked by many.

What’s next after this healthy and ingredients filled Almond Milk?
That’s a surprise as we have lot of value additions to be done in case of almond milk.

What is your current market share? And what is the eCommerce presence?
We are present on Big Basket, Amazon, Nature’s basket and other e commerce sites. Currently, we are focussing at getting maximum reach through various sites and outlets. We do not have any plans to launch our own e-commerce portal or app.

As compared to other overseas markets, how fast is the Indian market evolving?
Indian market is growing at about 20 percent annually for the last two years in the non-dairy category, but there is a long way to go.

According to you what is the market size of ready to drink beverages and non-dairy alternatives in India? And what is the CAGR?
We don’t have any data as Nielsen doesn’t track this category, but an intelligent guess will be about Rs 40cr, growing at 20 percent CAGR.

What is your annual turnover and CAGR?
We are unable to disclose any numbers because we are private company.

Share your expansion plans, in terms of product, market presence and production capacity?
We currently want to expand from metros and mini metros to all state capitals in terms of distribution. We are getting many queries from SAARC countries for exports which we plan to do. In terms of production we still have a long way to go before thinking of expansion. In terms of investment we have great plans ahead, but at this moment we are not in a position to disclose anything. But, we will definitely let everyone know once we are fully ready.

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