Agri Business

Amul plans to usher in a sweet revolution with branded honey

Rutam Vora Ahmedabad | Updated on September 10, 2020 Published on September 10, 2020

India set up its first honey-testing lab in July this year

Having forayed into several non-dairy branded food segments of edible oils, ready-to-eat snacks, bakery products and chocolates, dairy major Amul is now toying with the idea of bringing out its own branded honey.

As an extension of the existing agri-value-chain for its more than 36 lakh milk producer members in Gujarat, Amul looks to boost honey beekeeping to source natural honey.

“Yes, we are serious about this category,” said RS Sodhi, Managing Director of Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation Ltd (GCMMF), which markets Amul brand of food products.

Sodhi stated that earlier the biggest constraint to get into branded honey segment was testing infrastructure for the quality and genuineness of honey. There was no dependable laboratory in India, and the samples had to be sent to European labs for testing.

“That was costly and time-consuming. Now that the NDDB has opened a modern honey-testing facility in Anand, we can think about collecting honey from farmers and marketing it under our brand so that consumers can get pure and genuine honey at an affordable price,” Sodhi told BusinessLine.

First testing lab

In July this year, Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar had inaugurated India’s first government honey-testing lab set up by the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) at Anand.

However, the business plan and procurement and processing aspects are yet to be finalised. “Already, a lot of farmers in Northern Gujarat in Banaskantha area have gone into honey production. We have not yet finalised the strategy, but it is there in our planning,” he said. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during his visit to Banaskantha in December 2016 had lauded farmers of the district for taking the lead in the “sweet revolution” with honey beekeeping and honey production along with animal husbandry. Banas dairy, a member union of GCMMF, had launched its own packaged honey called Banas Honey.

For Amul, getting into large-scale honey procurement on a “cooperative model” is a win on both sides. One side opens up a new consumer market for the dairy giant, while on the other it improves sourcing for its own captive consumption of honey for varied products, including butter cookies and the recently-launched prasad product — Panchamrit.

The push for honey-bee cultivation, initially set to start from Gujarat - is seen as a big income generating option for farmers in other parts of the country as well as it requires low investment and provides dependable allied economic activity to farming and animal husbandary.

Amul, through its large network of 222 district cooperative milk unions has over 1.6 crore milk producer members, who pour their milk in over 1.85 lakh dairy cooperative societies across the country.

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Published on September 10, 2020
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