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Bringing Alternative Milk Options In The Milk Market: Hitesh Rathi, Founder, Aadvik Foods

In the last 5 years Aadvik has sold approximately 8,00,000 litres of camel milk across the country.

Tell us about your venture? What is the story behind its inception?

Established in 2016 by Hitesh Rathi and Shrey Kumar, Aadvik Foods is India’s first camel milk brand. Aadvik Foods has come a long way from selling just 1 litre of camel milk in a day to now selling 20,000 liters of camel milk a month. In the last 5 years Aadvik has sold approximately 8,00,000 litres of camel milk across the country. Currently, the company receives more than 400 orders on a daily basis for camel milk and other milk-based products.

Hitesh started working on the idea in 2015 and had started Aadvik Foods already before meeting Shrey. After a few months, he realized that every aspect of business cannot be handled alone and hence started to look out for a business partner. That’s how he got connected to Shrey through a mutual friend and they have been working together since.

What are your products? How has been the response so far?

Our product portfolio has products across different 3 categories – camel milk, goat milk and donkey milk.

Camel milk category consists of products like plain camel milk powder, raw camel milk powder, frozen camel milk, camel milk chocolates, camel colostrum, camel milk soap and camel ghee. We definitely lead this market space in India and give a tough competition to International players in the same domain.

Goat milk category consists of products like plain goat milk powder, soaps and frozen goat milk milk. This category is also picking up well considering the numerous therapeutic properties goat milk has and its value added products like skincare & chocolates are also gaining popularity in recent years.

Donkey milk category consists of donkey milk powder. which we have named Lac Jennius (Lac is milk & Jenny is female donkey) and is quite popular among our International Customers. It is widely used by nutraceutical & skin care companies & recommended by doctors to few people who cannot digest regular milk well. Donkey milk also contains vitamin E, amino acids, vitamins A, B1, B6, C, E, Omega 3, and 6. These properties together make it a rich ingredient when it comes to skin treatment. Moreover, vitamin D is another important ingredient for human skin, and the primary source to get it is through UV exposure.

How is Aadvik food prospering for camel herders? How many herders are directly associated with Aadvik foods?

As per Govt. of India data, camel milk population in India has been on a decline for the past 2-3 decades. Major reasons cited for this were no sustained income of camel farmers, slaughtering, and after the advent of vehicles, the usage of camels in transportation also reduced. We have been able to create a market for camel milk in the country and now camel farmers have a regular source of income. Payment is made directly to camel farmers. They have now started taking good care of their camels as well.

Aadvik Foods began by buying milk from just one camel farmer in 2016 and, today, there are more than 200 farmers across Rajasthan and Gujarat who directly supply milk to us.

What is your take on the emergence of DairyPreneurs in India? What is the market size and opportunities?

The dairy sector is a significant contributor to our economy and is a priority sector for the Indian government. With a 4% share in the economy, the sector is the largest single agricultural commodity. The dairy sector is a significant contributor towards farmers’/herder’s income. It directly involves more than 70 Million farmers/herders in the sector, providing employment to more than 10 Mn additional people, both directly and indirectly.

In the past few years, the Indian dairy industry has received a tremendous boost through technology-driven products, services and solutions, the credit for which deservingly goes to agricultural and dairy startups. A slew of startups are working towards organizing the dairy supply chain, improving milk quality and production.

The market for milk alternatives is still small in India, estimated at $25 million, when compared to its bigger cousin, the dairy industry valued at $140 billion. Analysts, however, are optimistic of its growth prospects, adding that it is expected to grow at a CAGR of 30% over the next five years.

The organized dairy sector is worth INR 3.1 bn and constitutes 30% of the market, growing at twice the rate. An increasingly organized sector gives way to multiple benefits for the dairy industry such as improved quality due to stringent Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) guidelines, increased demand in domestic and urban exports markets and higher value creation by value-added dairy products. Overall, the organized sector is expected to contribute 15-16% towards market growth in the next 5 years.

What are your funding and expansion plans?

We will be looking for funding soon to support our 100 % growth plans and are all set to re-launch camel milk chocolates in 3 different variants by the end of October to increase the acceptability of camel milk among the mass audience.

Which products are the exclusive and most selling products?

Our exclusive and highest selling product is our hero product – Plain Camel Milk Powder (Freeze Dried). But in Last 2 years we have seen quite a good demand for Goat Milk products as well from the Indian Market. We are confident that in the next 2-3 years, we will have a good equal contribution from the goat milk category also.

What are your thoughts on the Rising of alternative milk options in the Dairy market during the pandemic?

With people becoming more health-conscious has helped us gain quite a lot of traction as people are looking for natural food options which can boost their health and support their immunity. Dairy has been such an important part of our Indian diet but some who are lactose intolerant cannot consume the regular dairy products. Camel Milk comes to rescue for those lactose intolerant people as it contains very less amount of lactose. Another alternative, Goat milk enhances our body’s ability to absorb important nutrients from other foods. Anti inflammatory properties found in goat milk controls gut inflammation and also great for people with poor digestion as it doesn’t cause any gastric, acidity or constipation issues.

How do you make sure of the quality & taste of the products?

At every step of our supply chain, we have stringent quality standards (Microbiological tests & Organoleptic parameters) this is how we ensure the quality & safety of our products. Our flagship products are 100% Pure & Natural- we don’t add any additives & preservatives so they taste the same like natural milk only

Source: Business World

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