Danone India eyes new export markets in South-East Asia

Abhishek Law Kolkata | Updated on January 12, 2021

Himanshu Bakshi, MD , Danone India   -  Photo: Manoej Paateel

Protinex-maker to focus on healthy ageing, adult and infant nutrition products

Danone India (a French foods company) is looking at new export markets in South East Asia for its home-grown adult nutrition supplement, Protinex.

Acquired from Wockhardt in 2012, Protinex has been one of flagship brands for Danone here in India.

Post an entry into Thailand last year, new markets such as Singapore and Malaysia are now being explored. Other regional markets that are being looked at include Vietnam and Myanmar. Protinex is also present in Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka.



According to Himanshu Bakshi, Managing Director, Danone India, healthy-ageing is seen as a growing consumption category in the South-east Asian region. Thailand has seen good traction with increasing queries from other regional markets.

“We are looking at other South-East Asian markets for Protinex now. Malaysia and Singapore are obvious choices,” he told BusinessLine. To a specific query on whether European markets are being explored, Bakshi said, “There are no immediate plans.”

India expansion

According to him, Danone will ramp up presence in India — across segments such as adult nutrition, healthy ageing and child and infant nutrition. Global brands from the French multinational’s stable will be introduced.

R&D has been ramped up for coming up with India-specific formulations and offerings.

Consumerisation of offerings are happening as premium offerings like Protinex – sales of which were predominantly driven by pharmacy and medical shops – is now being pushed across retail channels.

Low unit priced offerings — a mainstay in the Indian retail markets — are also being explored and pilots are being run in select geographies.

“There is a new launch happening every year. It could be a new variant or pack size or a new brand. Digital advertising and influencer marketing has been ramped up significantly,” he said.

Despite exiting the dairy and water businesses in India over the last few years, the country continues to be amongst the top two growth markets for the French multinational.

Double-digit growth

Post the pandemic, the increased focus on health and immunity have helped the company grow in double digits, which is expected to sustain.

Also read: Danone India to flex muscle in adult nutrition category with Protinex

Except during April and May — when supply chain and logistics were hit — sales saw northward movement from June. For the September quarter, sales grew better than pre-Covid times. Current indications (for December quarter) suggest sales are better than pre-Covid levels.

“We were growing at high single digits earlier. Post Covid, we are witnessing double digit growth. There is an increasing focus on health and healthy living and it opens up new opportunities for us,” he added.

Published on January 11, 2021

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