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Gowardhan Dairy

Gowardhan: Creme de la creme of the Dairy Industry

Pooja Thakkar

The Premium Dairy Brand promises healthy lives by providing superior quality dairy products with unique taste and flavour
Gowardhan: Creme de la creme of the Dairy Industry

The Inception of the elite Dairy Brand:

When Ravi Shastri drove across the Melbourne Cricket Ground in an Audi in the 1985 World Cup, little would he have realised that he had inspired a budding entrepreneur in a small town back home. Devendra Shah, Chairman of Parag Milk Foods, then 21, who was watching the proceedings live on television in Manchar in Pune district decided he too wanted to become a “champion of champions” just like Shastri, and own an Audi car one day.

The big break for Shah came in 1991 when the then Finance Minister Manmohan Singh in his budget speech announced de-licensing. This paved the way for private players to procure milk from farmers. Shah launched Parag Milk Foods in 1992, which manufactures liquid milk and milk products under the brand name ‘Gowardhan’

Gowardhan is one of India's largest private dairies, with an output capacity of 1,000,000 liters per day. Located in a lush green village called Manchar in Maharashtra (60 km from Pune), the company owns the largest cow farm in India as well as Asia's largest cheese plant. Gowardhan is an ISO 9000 and AGMARK certified company, committed to international standards of product quality. Their product portfolio includes Skim Milk Powder, Whole Milk Powder, Ghee, Processed Cheese, Butter, Dahi, proprietary foods like Dairy Whitener and Gulab Jamun Mixpowder under the brand names of "Gowardhan" and 'Go' all made from 100% fresh cow milk.

The company markets its products directly to hotels, restaurants, institutions, and caterers, as well as through a network of retailers to consumers in India; and exports to the Middle East, South East Asian, and African countries.

Some of the company’s world famous clients include Yakult, BEL, Morocco, Baskin Robins, Barista, and Café Coffee Day.

Why is Gowardhan a Premium Brand?

The organization is registered with US FDA and this is the only brand in India to have obtained the ISO 15161 certification from New Zealand.

The Company’s latest brand ‘Pride of Cows’ is a premium, by-invitation only farm-to-home milk delivery initiative in South Bombay. Gowardhan's luxury milk is extracted every morning by machines from its herd of specially-imported cross bred Jersey-Holstein cows.

Black-and-white Holsteins, originally from the Netherlands, are most widely used for milk production in the US, while the brown Jersey cow, originally from the British Isles, is known for its creamy milk.

The lucky ones to receive the invitation for now include a mix of political families, corporate executives, celebrities and expats.

The company has spent over Rs 4 crore on its rotary milking parlour, the first in India. The 3,000-plus Holstein cows, purchased at Rs 40,000 a piece, are treated to a special diet of calcium-rich feed.

For the first time in India, the company promises to bring for the Indian consumers many exciting forms and flavours of cheese. Retailed under the Brand name ‘Go Cheese’, the cheeses will range from wedges and slices, powders and spreads, to pizza cheese and shredded Mozzarella, with its target audience being the youth between the ages of 4 and 14.

 “We see competition in international brands such as Kraft and Laughing Cow. There are 150-200 different types of cheeses used worldwide. But in India we are familiar with just 2-3 types of cheese. In the coming years we aim to manufacture all types of cheeses,” said Shah.

Gowardhan’s deployment of Technology at 3 different plants:

Dairy Plant

Parag Milk Foods has a dairy plant, which is fully automated and matches the international standards. It is equipped with the best European technologies. No-human-contact is maintained right from reception of milk to the finished product.

 Bhagyalaxmi Dairy Farm

It is spread over an area of 35 acres and boasts of being India's largest cow farm stringently following specialized farming, nurturing, breeding and a milking program, which makes sure that the milk obtained is wholesome and of the purest quality.

Cheese Plant

The cheese plant is one of the only two facilities in Asia with UHT technology. All the equipments are imported from Stephan Machinery Germany, who are pioneers in cheese processing equipments. This allows the  cheese to be stored in optimum conditions without any refrigeration for a period of 6 months in tropical countries like India.

Gowardhan’s Qualified Team:

The team is manned by professionals who keep themselves updated with the new technologies.

Gowardhan has an internal HR team for recruitment. They have expert consultants for training and also send employees abroad for training. The Company also has tie ups Allahabad Dairy university and Karnal universities.

Gowardhan’s current and future projects:

  • Commissioning Dairy Plant at Palamner, Andhra Pradesh (to be commissioned by June 2011) and reaching its full capacity of 0.7 Lakh Litres of Milk per day by 2012 end.
  • Establishing distribution network for fresh milk products like Pouch Milk, Curd, Yogurt, Lassi, etc. in the Southern metros of Bangalore, Chennai & Hyderabad through Palamner Plant.
  • Focus on Cheese range with new introductions like Nacho Cheese Sauce, Cheezoo Tubes (under Tom & Jerry branding), Shredded Cheeses (in various flavours like Italian Pasta, Italian Pizza, Mexicana, etc.), Gourmet Cheeses like Gouda, Colby, Montero Jack, Natural Cheddar, etc.
  • Establishing a strong toe-hold with major Cheese consuming Institutions & Pizza Chains.

India is the largest milk producing country in the world, followed by USA, Russia, Germany and France.

"Dairy has become an unpopular business in Europe and leading dairy nations like New Zealand and Australia. India will have to meet the international milk demand,” says Shah implying that dairy is the ideal sector to invest and it doesn't require much marketing either.

Shah spends more time on new projects, and on branding and ‘farmer relations’ traveling regularly from Pune to Mumbai (165 km and three hours away). “At the core of success in a business like this are your relations with farmers,” concludes Shah.

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