French nutrition and dairy major Danone India, which launched its global flagship infant formula brand Aptamil in India, believes 2017 will be critical year to accelerate its growth in the country.

After Aptamil, the company is looking to launch ten new products this year in the dairy and nutrition space, which includes infant nutrition brand Neocate, besides products for children with in-born errors of metabolism.

“India is our second fastest growing market after China in the Asian region. It is a strategic market and we have been witnessing a healthy growth of 20 per cent year-on-year. We want to double our India business by 2020. We expect to continue to grow at the same pace for the next few years,” said Rodrigo Lima, Managing Director, Danone India. The company decided to merge its Indian nutrition and dairy business in 2015. Lima said this strategy has helped the company, “generate synergies and has led to a strong acceleration of its sales”.

“Two things are central to our India strategy — “Make in India” and “Indovation”, as we focus on local innovations,” he added.

Teen nutrition segment

Asked if the company will now look to bring more products from its global portfolio, Lima said: “New launches this year will include line extension, new flavours, global products as well as local innovations”.

The company is also keen to tap into the teenage nutrition segment with the launch of a malt-based product.

“We are soon looking to launch a product that has been specifically developed to cater to the nutritional needs of pre-teens and teenagers. This will open a new segment of growth for us in India,” he added.

Yoghurt segment

Talking about the growth strategy for its dairy business, Lima said, “Our real strength in the dairy business is the yoghurt segment.

“The yoghurt market is still small in India but its growing and it’s highly concentrated in the big metros. So we have been focusing on growing our presence in the key metros.

“We are very careful about expanding to new cities as we want to fully control our supply chain.”