It’s Cheese Time for Dairy Prabhat
Prabhat Dairy Limited, a leading player in the Indian Dairy Sector has invested in setting up one of the India’s largest production lines for cheese at its Shrirampur facility in Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra with an investment of Rs. 140 crore.
Cheese is no longer limited to a gourmet’s palate. The friendly neighborhood street-side cafes and food service outlets are sure to have this dairy-delight on their menu. Cheese has transcended from being an ingredient just for continental European cuisine, to becoming a universal ingredient that is warmly being embraced into Indian cuisine also. Today, Indians no longer just crave melted cheese just on their pizza, garlic breads, burgers and sandwiches, but also on their daily dosas, parathas, and uttapams.
For centuries, India has been a paneer-consuming market, just as the Middle East countries such as Afghanistan and Iran from ancient times. Even today, for many vegetarians, milk, paneer and curd are still the primary sources of protein. However, changing food habits and the rise in food-service outlets across the country has triggered a veritable surge in the demand for cheese in India.
Prabhat Dairy produces cheese strictly from the fresh and unadulterated cow’s milk procured directly from dairy farmers. The Company produces mainly three varieties of cheese: mozzarella, cheddar and processed. Prabhat’s automated production facility is equipped with advanced technology which ensures operational efficiencies including lower production losses, strict quality control and ability to process large orders. This makes Prabhat a preferred partner for the leading QSR chains with bulk order requirements.
The Indian fast-food market is a major driver for India’s cheese industry and is currently worth over Rs. 80-100 bn and growing at 30-35% annually as per the IMARC (International Market Analysis Research and Consulting Group) Report on Dairy sector.
Cheese is now the fastest growing segment in the domestic dairy and milk products industry. The economic growth, change in tastes and preferences, and urbanisation of India have resulted in a shift in consumption pattern; away from traditional food commodities, and towards processed and high-value products.
One major dairy food specialist company, Prabhat Dairy Limited, took notice of this trend a few years back and encashed on this emerging business opportunity. In view of this changing consumption habit, the ‘dahi to ice-creams’ company invested into and successfully started commercial production of cheese in the second quarter of 2015. The manufacturing facility, located in Shrirampur (Maharashtra) is India’s third largest plant, capable of manufacturing 20 tonnes of cheese on a daily basis.
Prabhat’s state-of-the-art cheese plant is currently ramping up its production to provide institutional and HoReCa (hotels, restaurants and caterers) players with regular volume supplies. Consumption of value-added dairy products like cheese and paneer is still dominated by consumption in the HoReCa channel, with only 35-40% consumption at household level.
Not surprisingly, Prabhat Dairy has witnessed a strong acceptance of its cheese products from a number of QSRs (quick service restaurants) and HoReCA players. While the overall capacity utilisation is at an early stage, the Company has established a well permeated distribution network for its institutional cheese business across Maharashtra, Gujarat, parts of Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Rajasthan and are entering Bangalore and Hyderabad. The large capacity under its belt gives the company a strong potential upside in capitalizing on the demand growth for cheese from the QSRs and HoReCA players.
In cheese, there are only a handful of top domestic players catering to these institutional segments. Amul, Parag, Gopaljee and Shreejee are some amongst the few. With no end in sight of the demand for cheese abating, Prabhat hopes to emerge as a top tier supplier in this marketplace.
Processed cheese as well as mozzarella cheese are gaining traction from the regions of its presence, as apart from the large QSRs there are also a number of mid-scale QSR restaurant chains and standalone fine-dine restaurants to which Prabhat is supplying. Prabhat is witnessing a strong cheese order book from these standalone food joints as the number of the small-scale restaurateurs is growing. Looking beyond Indian borders, the Company has already started exporting its product to Yum Brand in the Middle East. Going ahead, the cheese business of Prabhat Dairy is expected to witness significant volume growth.