Rashi Aditi Ghosh/ Zee Research Group
India is losing its love for milk and milk products preferring to shell out less and less money on buying them. The trend, captured in the latest National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) ‘Share of Wallet’ report, transcends the urban and rural divide as milk continues to lose its favourite drink tag.
An analysis of the NSSO report revealed that the expenditure share on milk in rural areas has slipped from 8.8 per cent in 1999-2000 to 8.6 per cent during 2009-2010. As if on cue, the urban populace also slashed their expenditure on milk from 8.7 per cent in 1999-2000 to 7.8 per cent during 2009-2010.
The move away from milk and milk products has a significant bearing on the food and beverage (F&B) industry in the country that has top Indian and foreign brands active in a fiercely competitive market.
Interpreting the odd working hours behind the change in urban consumption habits, Piruz Khambatta, CMD, Rasna argued, "Urban India wants complete nutrition in one sip which they think they may not get after consuming the milk alone."
Sameer Barde, Director at Confederation of Indian Food Trade and Industry (CIFTI-FICCI) said, "Both urban and rural population are now exposed to many more products than milk. So, obviously when you see varied options, consumer eagerness to get one and try various options reduces dependence on milk as the sole liquid diet."
While milk appetite has witnessed a decline, the acceptance level of beverages has observed a visible growth over the years in both urban and rural India.
While urban population increased its expenditure on beverages from 6.2 per cent in 2004-2005 to 6.3 per cent during 2009-2010, rural India observed a sharper growth from 4.5 per cent in 2004-2010 to 5.6 per cent during 2009-2010.
No to milk and yes to beverages is easy to explain. Reasons Praveen Jaipuriar, marketing head (foods) at Dabur India, “The aspiration levels of consumers have grown. With the growing awareness levels about health products and health consciousness, consumers start to consume more of aspiration and functional health products like packaged fruit juices. Furthermore, juices are more palatable or better tasting than some of other nutritional products and offer health benefits too."
Endorsing the health quotient, Sanjay Kumar Bhattacharjee, Marketing Development Manager, Dairy Products, DSM Nutritional Products, said, "Health drinks are more preferred than milk in urban populace as they are readily available, easy to consume and claim to have all nutritional benefits and sold as per the age groups and genders."