Pratim Ranjan Bose

Kolkata, June 21

AMUL is planning big on retail. The Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation- (GCMMF) owned brand is actively considering retailing fresh and frozen vegetables, fruits and fruit products to make optimum use of an extensive distribution network across the country.

While the issue is still being debated within the organisation, as a run-up to its grand retailing plan, Amul proposes to set up 10,000 `Amul Parlours' across the country during the year. The parlours will be selling the entire product range of the GCMMF , in addition to the existing retail network for ice cream, milk and other products.

Talking to Business Line, Mr R. S. Sodhi, Chief General Manager (Sales), said that as a pilot project, GCMMF had rolled out a few self-managed Amul Parlours a couple of years ago.

"The project is extremely successful and today, we have roughly 200 outlets mostly in Gujarat." Of the total, 37 parlours are managed by GCMMF, the rest by franchise partners.

Amul is now planning a nationwide rollout of such outlets through franchise operators. At an average expenditure of Rs 50,000 a parlour, the project will cost approximately Rs 50 crore.

Admitting that the parlours may mark Amul's foray into retailing of non-milk farm and processed food products in the future, Mr Sodhi said, "Marketing of fresh and frozen vegetables, fruits and fruit products goes perfectly well with Amul's strength in distribution and packaging. However, we are yet to decide on that."

Meanwhile, the federation has firmed up plans for further expansion of its fresh milk business. Apart from Gujarat, Amul milk is now available in 12 cities across six States. Amul will expand its fresh milk markets to Kanpur and Lucknow this year.

While Gujarat continues to be the biggest sourcing point for milk, Amul is now procuring raw milk from Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajashthan, Orissa, West Bengal, Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab.

Distribution in the North will be backed by Amul's upcoming dairy in Delhi, which also includes an ice cream plant. Delhi will be the eighth ice cream manufacturing facility of GCMMF.

In the overseas market, especially in West Asia and the South East Asia, the company has increased its business from Rs 50 crore in 2003-04 to Rs 117 crore in 2004-05. The two prime contributors are milk powder and long-life milk.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated June 22, 2005)
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