An Indian employee monitors tetra packs of lassi going through the production line at the Mother Dairy factory, which manufactures the Amul brand of ice cream, buttermilk, lassi at Bhatt village on the outskirts of Ahmedabad on April 30, 2019. (Photo credit should read SAM PANTHAKY/AFP via Getty Images)

GCMMF, which markets dairy products under the Amul brand, will invest around Rs 10 billion ($136 million) over the next two years to set up milk processing plants, and another Rs 5 billion on facilities for new products like edible oil, its MD R S Sodhi said.

In an interview with PTI, Sodhi said the Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation Ltd (GCMMF) expects 12-15 per cent growth in revenue in current fiscal year from Rs 385.50 billion during the last fiscal year despite COVID-19 pandemic, as demand for branded food products has increased.

“We will invest around Rs 1,000 crore (Rs 10 billion) in the next two years on setting up dairy plants across various states,” Sodhi told PTI.

He said the processing capacity would increase to 42 million litres per day from the current 38 million litres per day.

On new businesses, Sodhi said the cooperative has started manufacturing sweets as well as bakery items using dairy fats.

Besides, he said, GCMMF has forayed into edible oil and potato processing segments as part of its objective to boost income of farmers from Gujarat and other states.

The edible oils will be marketed under the new brand ‘Janmay’. It will produce groundnut oil, cottonseed oil, sunflower oil, mustard oil and soybean oil.

“We already have few plants for edible oil, bakery and potato processing. We will invest Rs 400-500 crore (Rs 4-5 billion) on setting up more plants in these new business areas over the next two years,” Sodhi said.

Asked about sales during the pandemic, he said sales of its dairy products like milk, butter milk, paneer and ghee were 15 per cent higher during April-August as compared with the year-ago period, driven by rising household consumption of branded food products.

However, he said, ice cream sales declined by 30-40 per cent due to closure of hotels, restaurants and canteens because of lockdown.

“Marriage ceremonies contribute a lot to ice cream sales. This has been affected badly this year,” he said.

Sodhi noted that household consumption of milk and other dairy products has risen, compensating loss of sales caused by closure of hotels, restaurants and cafeterias during the lockdown period.

Amul sells 14 million litres of fresh milk per day, mainly in Gujarat, Delhi-NCR and Uttar Pradesh. Its dairy products are sold across the country.