Lactalis India launches protein-packed yoghurt drink

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Company says it is targeted at ‘on-the-go’ young Indians, will be manufactured in Melmaruvathur near Chennai

Lactalis India, part of France’s Lactalis Group, forayed into the yoghurt category in India by launching Lactel Turbo Yoghurt Drink in Chennai on Thursday. The company claimed that this is the first such drink in India.

The ‘on the go’ drink will be available in mango and strawberry flavours. It is thicker than lassi due to the presence of protein and fruits, is packed in an open pouch, and priced ₹15, Rahul Kumar, Managing Director, Lactalis India, said in a virtual press meet. The drink contains all the benefits of all-natural premium French quality yoghurt, he added.

The drink will be launched in Bengaluru on Friday, followed by launches in Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, and north and west India in phases by January 2022, he said.

Kumar said that the snackable yoghurt drink is targeted at ‘on-the-go’ young Indians. The total market size for yoghurt is around ₹5,000 crore and the company expects a market penetration of 20 per cent.

Indian market

In India, fermented milk products have always been a part of daily food intake. But yoghurt is relatively new and largely restricted to niche audiences living in metro cities.

“With Lactel Turbo Yoghurt drink we want to give the discerning audience the goodness of yoghurt in a snackable drink format,” Kumar said. In countries like France, yoghurt is part of the breakfast while in India it is taken throughout the day, he added.

Lactel Turbo Yoghurt Drink will be manufactured in Thirumala Milk plant at Melmaruvathur near Chennai. Lactalis acquired Thirumala in 2014.

On Lactel’s journey in India, Kumar said that in October 2020 the UHT Milk was launched and yoghurt drink today. In October, the company plans to launch fruit yoghurt and in January 2022, Greek yoghurt, he said.

Lactalis India has been a part of the Indian dairy industry for over 7 years through its acquisition of Thirumala Milk in south India in 2014, Anik Milk in north India in 2016, and Prabhat Dairy in west India in 2019.

“India is a very strategic market. We will keep looking at acquisitions to expand our footprint and market share,” Kumar said.

Last fiscal, the company reported a turnover of ₹4,000 crore and this year the company expected 5-6 per cent growth; the capex will be around ₹50 crore, including ₹15 crore spent on the yoghurt drink plant at Melmaruvathur, he added.

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