Parag Milk Foods Limited, has tied up with Germanyâ€™s cheese maker Hochland to bring their product Almette fresh cream in India. Devendra Shah, Chairman, Parag Milk Foods Limited spoke to Restaurant India about the partnership.
Tell us about Parag Milk Foods collaboration with Europe’s leading cheese maker Hochland?
Almette is made in Germany in Hochland plant and we are only marketing it in India. So it’s a more of sale and marketing initiative that we have initiated. It’s a learning curve for us. This partnership is not with the investment per say so there is no any capacity investment.
We are looking to synergize the expertise of both the companies while we have a strong distribution network in the country and a strong brand namely Go. We will be fully importing the Hochland products and distributing them here. With the launch of Go Almette in the country, we are broadening our portfolio of consumer health and nutrition based products. With this co-branding, we are also embarking upon a new relationship with Hochland Group.
What are the features of Go Almette cream cheese?
Go Almette is a mild, creamy and fluffy cream cheese produced in Germany made with pasteurized cow milk and is all natural with no preservatives, emulsifiers, thickeners, artificial colours or flavours. It is light and natural, providing consumers an option to use it as an all-day snack, either as direct consumption applied on breads, crackers or even roti or paratha. This is a kind of homemade ‘Makhkhan’. It is like vanilla ice cream but without Sugar. The product is competitively priced at Rs 150 for per unit or 150 gms.
What is a shelf life of this cheese?
The shelf life is of four to five months. It comes at a normal cheese temperature. It has to be preserved at a constant 40 c in the fridge, not the freezer.
How this German cheese will appeal the obese feared Indian consumers?
This is a very low calorie cheese. Compared to 98 percent fats in butter, cheese only contain 30 percent fats. Cheese is protein rich food. 25 gram of cheese consumption is equal to one glass of milk which is good for health.
What are your plans promoting Go Almette in India?
We have significant plans for marketing Go Almette and will be leveraging ATL activities in association with lifestyle and sports channels, OOH and digital media. We also plan to tie-up with major e-commerce portals wherein consumers will be able to place an order online as well. With regard to the on-ground activities, we will be conducting in-store promotions through sampling our products. Simultaneously we are endeavoring to educate the consumer about the recipes to be attached with this cheese. Recently we have tied-up with celebrity chef Ranveer Brar to promote our cheese products with western palettes. With him we have already launched 100 recipes combining with Indian cheese.
What will be the market presence?
The products will be available primarily in 6 to 7 metros namely Banglore, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Pune, Mumbai, Delhi and Chennai. Even within the metros we will be very careful and selective with the distribution of outlets. We will be targeting the premium outlets like Natures basket. First we are starting with Mumbai and in six to eight months we will also go to tier I, II and III cities. Overall in seven metros it will go to 1200 outlets.
In Mumbai we estimate to reach out to 400-500 retail outlets, out of these 150 will be modern outlets and 350 will be the large stand alone general stores which deal in these kinds of products. Certainly it will be available at premium outlet that offers right kind of visibility to the brand. For online presence we are in discussion with all the e-commerce players but with e-commerce we will be only supplying to Mumbai and Bangalore initially.
What is the volume that you are looking for in terms of imports?
Initially, we are importing around Rs 800cr of Almette cheese for sizeable distribution in big cities and smaller towns. The plans are to grow the volume supply in the market.
Will there be any competition with your co-branding partner in India for the market share? And will you be introducing more such products?
No. we will not be competing with our co-brand. This is basically a trial partnership with Hoshland. This category will grow fast in India. We have 26 percent market share and are aiming to make it upto 31 percent.
We may or may not produce these products in the near future. We are focusing on Almette right now and the future action will depend upon the response coming in for Almette. It’s not easy to establish the brand, it will take six to seven months to take this brand to the cities and only after that we will be able to realize how does brand move.
Don’t you think the cheese is higher priced and might not be affordable for small town consumers?
It’s Rs 150 per 150 gm pack which is value for money for those premium discerning consumers who are willing to pay for the quality cheese. The cheese will be available in tub, which resembles wooden keg, used originally to make cheese. This cheese is quite different from the regular Indian cheese.
How are you competing with Amul cheese products?
We are competing in the space of cheese which is made of cow milk. We make best cheese made of cow milk but finally consumer is the king who decides what to consume. Challenges are always there with competition.
What is your current turnover?
Our last year turnover was Rs 1440 cr and we are growing by 25 percent YOY.