Ahmedabad: One of the dairies in the fold of Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF), which owns the brand Amul, wants to jump into the cola wars; only, it wants to do so with a carbonated drink made out of buttermilk.
Sabar Dairy, run by Sabarkantha Dist Coop Milk Producers’ Union Ltd, has been working on a carbonated buttermilk drink for some time and is now ready to move on to the next stage: manufacturing and launch.
“We have already built the prototype and have now issued tenders for setting up the first ever plant (to bottle carbonated buttermilk) in the world. It will have a capacity of one lakh bottles per day,” said Mayur Vyas, managing director, Sabar Dairy.
The cost of setting up the plant, to be located at the dairy’s existing facility in Sabarkantha in North Gujarat, will be Rs7-8 crore.
Sabar Dairy ended 2006-07 with a revenue of Rs678 crore and collects nine lakh litres of milk a day from farmers.
Sabar Dairy’s research and development centre had earlier produced Masti Dahi (branded curd from Amul). “We specialize in working with curd and its variants. We want to give cola companies a run for their money,” said Vyas.
The new drink will hit the market in 2008; its pricing has not yet been finalized. Vyas added the drink could be called Amul, but said this would require clearance from GCMMF.
Sabar was inspired to develop its carbonated buttermilk by the success of Stamina, a health drink launched by GCMMF. Stamina is made out of whey (a by-product in the manufacture of cheese) and was launched last year. Sabar Dairy’s researchers have achieved a shelf life of three months for the new product.
Vyas said Stamina is ultra-high-treated health drink that did not have probiotic microbes. “It provides only energy but does not have the fizz,” he added. He said that colas are just “water, sugar and essence.”
“The cost per bottle of cola is not more than 40 paise; our product would be worth at least Rs2-2.50,” he added. Probiotic microbes are potentially beneficial bacteria or yeast.
The fizz or carbonation would make the product attractive to young people, said Vyas, with the probiotic microbes helping improve digestion. Pepsi was first envisioned as a digestive aid and takes its name from the digestive enzyme.
Amul has been aggressively trying to popularize the concept of probiotic foods in India and has launched products such as probiotic sugar-free ice cream and probiotic lassi (salted and sweetened buttermilk).