The company has ventured into whey protein powders, a by-product in the cheese manufacturing process. Parag established India’s first and only manufacturing facility to produce whey protein and introduced various whey protein products in the market including Avvatar, a branded B2C product, and India’s first 100% vegetarian whey protein. Through the commissioning of the lactose plant, the company is now intending to add higher value to whey permeates generated during the filtration process of whey protein.
Whey permeate contains a high concentration of lactose, a natural milk sugar with fat and minerals, that is normally sold as a substitute to skimmed milk powder (SMP). Pure lactose, which largely consists of edible lactose used in confectionaries and food additives, and pharma grade lactose used by the pharmaceutical and nutrition industries, garners a higher value and has a vast potential for growth, the company said.
Parag has therefore established facilities with a capacity to manufacture 40 MT of lactose per day. The company said it can create lactose for segments such as food applications, infant nutrition and clinical nutrition products.
Globally, the lactose market size stood at $1.2bn in 2018 and is projected to grow to $1.5bn by 2026, exhibiting a CAGR of 3.7% during this period. The Indian lactose market size is between 40,000-45,000 MT and is valued at about $70m, with a major part of the requirement met through imports.
This company said this provides a huge opportunity.
Parag said it has a fully integrated value chain with control over processes from procurement and supply chain to processing and distribution, which help to maintain standards of quality and delivery throughout.
Devendra Shah, chairman, said, “Being a large cheese player, we always had whey protein and therefore lactose as a by-product, to which we want to further value-add to tap into high quality ingredients for the Indian market. With our end-to-end manufacturing capabilities across the value chain, we are well placed to support the PM’s impetus towards ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ by reducing the import dependence of the country on lactose.
“Being agile in our response to market changes, we are constantly innovating our product offerings and concentrating on tie-ups with partners focused on quality. Consumers have become increasingly conscious about nutrition and there is a big shift and preference for trusted brands. As the market is shifting towards premiumization with a clear thrust towards value-added dairy products, we are the forerunners with more than two-thirds of our portfolio comprising of value-added products. With the addition of lactose to our portfolio, we are expecting our Health and Nutrition portfolio to grow further in the next two years, which will also improve our profitability.”
Parag Milk Foods Limited, established in 1992, is the largest private dairy FMCG company with a pan India presence. It has manufacturing facilities in Manchar in Maharashtra, Palamaner in Andhra Pradesh, and Sonipat in Haryana.
Under the brand Gowardhan, Parag offers traditional products like ghee, dahi and paneer, while under the Go brand it produces cheese, UHT milk, buttermilk, lassi and yoghurt.