Maharashtra and Gujarat seems to be having the largest cheese loving population in the country. Nearly half of the cheese produced in India is consumed by these two western states.
This could be gauged from Gujarat’s penchant for cheese. Gujaratis are known to grate dollops of cheese over street food including double cheese pizza, cheese poha, cheese idli, cheese bhel and even cheese on dahi-puri and dahi kachori!
The industry players peg the size of cheese market in India at 29,000 tonnes per annum. As per the International Market Analysis Research and Consulting (IMARC) data cited by Mumbai-based Parag Milk Foods Limited, Maharashtra tops the list with 33% share followed by Gujarat (16%), Delhi (7%) and Tamil Nadu (7%) and Karnataka (6%). Both the western states approximately consume 14,000 tonnes of cheese annually.
Considering the rapidly expanding cheese market, cheese makers are ramping up production capacity. “Amul currently produces 40 tonnes per day cheese and we are increasing the capacity three times to take it to 120 tonnes,” said RS Sodhi, managing director, Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation (GCCMF), which markets Amul brand products.
“The cheese consumption is growing rapidly in the country. Over the last five years, the segment is growing at roughly 25% per annum,” said Devendra Shah, chairman, Parag Milk Foods Limited, which sells cheese under ‘Go’ brand. In value terms, the market is estimated to be around Rs 850-1000 crore.
Cheese sales are mainly categorized into retail and institutions segments. Quick Service Restaurants (QSRs) such as pizza, fast food chain, big and small hotels and caterers buy cheese in bulk. Both retail and institutions account for 50% each for cheese sales.
“India is largely a vegetarian society and cheese is one of the prime source of protein. Also, the growing number of QSR, which serve westernized food items having cheese as key ingredient, has propelled the cheese consumption in the country,” added Shirish Upadhyay, Senior Vice President, Strategic Planning Cell, Parag Milk Foods. Now, even households have started experimenting with their traditional delicacies using cheese, he added.
As per the International Market Analysis Research and Consulting (IMARC) data cited by Parag Milk Foods, Amul is the market leader with 42%, while Parag has 32% share. However, Amul claimed that it commands more than 50% share of the market.