Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation Ltd (GCMMF), which owns the Amul brand, plans to set up a network of 10,000 exclusive outlets in the next few years as part of an effort to sell directly to customers and address the potential threat of large retailers asking the cooperative to reduce prices. GCMMF currently sells its products through a distribution network that reaches 600,000 stores across the country.
“We have not given in to any retailer on margins till now but in the event this happens, we will be ready with an alternative channel to give customers their products in a convenient manner,” said R.S. Sodhi, chief general manager, Amul.
Large retailers bargain aggressively with suppliers and product manufacturers such as GCMMF.
According to Sodhi, once such a network of exclusive outlets is created, it could also help the company roll out products faster by reducing dependence on the traditional distribution network that isn’t controlled by the company. “Feedback from the consumer will also come in directly, allowing us to give them what they want,” he added.
The new so-called parlours will come up in neighbourhoods at cities across the country, including Tirupati and Shirdi, both centres of worship, at railway stations, and at airports. Sodhi said outlets would open soon at the Kolkata, Mumbai, Bangalore and Ahmedabad airports.
GCMMF expects to open an Amul outlet at the Ahmedabad railway station this week. Some of the outlets will also be in large housing colonies. In the last week of August, GCMMF launched an Amul parlour in a large housing colony in Noida, a Delhi suburb, and another in a gated community in Ahmedabad. The cooperative has also taken over the maintenance of several public parks in Ahmedabad and set up outlets at these locations.
Sodhi said the cooperative also plans to expand its presence in the so-called centres of excellence. This involves setting up outlets in the campuses of companies such as Infosys Technologies Ltd and Wipro Ltd and educational institutions such as the Indian Institutes of Management and the Indian Institutes of Technology. “People at these places lead stressful lives and need nourishing food easily available instead of junk food and unhealthy drinks, and through these outlets we want to provide them healthful choices in food and beverages,” added Sodhi.
GCMMF has 150 outlets in such campuses currently and plans to add another 50 outlets in other campuses.