American Palates to Get Taste of Rasogollas
Source: The Economic Times, New Delhi, India, Dec 9, 2002
dairy industry is poised to carve out a Major market for Indian milk-based
sweets overseas. And if all goes well, 'rasogolla' and 'gulabjamun'
(or rasmalai, rabri and mishti doi) may well trip easier off the White
Caucasian tongue in North America and the West faster than you can
spit out "Bouillabaise!"
According to the recently released "Technology of Indian Milk
Products" industry referencer published by Dairy India, the market
for traditional Indian milk-based sweets alone is estimated at $500m.
The market for traditional dairy products
in India exceeds an estimated Rs 50,000 crore and is the largest and
fastest growing segment of the Indian dairy industry.
A major push in this direction of turning out bigger volumes of Strictly
quality controlled traditional sweets for commercial sales both domestically
and abroad has come from national brands such as Haldiram, Bikanerwala,
KC Das and Ganguram. The most successful recent example of commercial
produce breaking the traditional sales barrier for a traditional milk
product, in fact, is that of dahi. The
consumption of just plain dahi exceeds 5m tonnes, almost 50 times
the amount of all types of yoghurts consumed in the US.
Much of this identified potential in the West is focused on 20m odd
ethnic South Asians living there. "The
Indian diaspora presents an exciting avenue for globalisation of mithais,"
the handbook maintains. Citing an increasing
number of enquiries received by the dairy industry in India from abroad,
particularly regarding equipment to manufacture paneer, khoa, shrikhand,
gulab jamun etc, it maintains "Entrepreneurs
in Europe, North America and Australia are looking into the prospects
of manufacturing traditional Indian mithais."
In June 2002, a Canadian initiative, IDP Foods Inc, went on stream
to produce Indian milk products in North America. This, considered
to be the largest attempt outside India to make ethnic Indian dairy
products on an industrial scale, is being perceived by the domestic
industry as an indicator to an increasing demand in the future.
Initiatives such as the IDP Foods Inc aim at targeting the pockets
of Asian-origin communities in the West most of whom are in the upper
income group. Some estimates put the annual income of the 20-m odd
Indian diaspora alone at $300bn, almost three times the GDP of India.
The book underlines "Indian mithais
have a good commercial market in The developed countries where the
share of food in the overall household expenditure is small".
The impending mithai revolution projected in the West is banking on
three basic sociological trends: The high spending ability of the
western target consumer and the need to access traditional sweets
easily at traditional ceremonies, functions and festivals; the high
inclination to try out exotic foods from other parts of the world,
ergo, a cosmopolitan palate (as evidenced by the popularity of Italian,
Chinese, Mexican and other ethnic cuisines as well the as the "balti"
rage in UK) and third, even a resurgent trend, however marginal at
this juncture, towards a wholesome, full-bodied food in its original
That trend notwithstanding, the production of ethnic products has
to adhere strictly to international quality standards, including catering
to the larger market of acutely fat conscious health trippers. Increased
spending on R&D for better quality monitoring, use of state-of-the-art
preservation and aseptic as well as attractive packaging processes
have to further come together to tap the full potential for future
growth, the handbook emphasises. Inspection
of dairy products for export is already being done, since 2000, by
the Export Inspection Council (EIC) set up by the central government.
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New Economic Opportunities
| One new revolution that
India has embarked on is the industrial scale production of
hitherto handmade traditional milk products. Recent innovations
in technology are having a wide-ranging impact on the growth
of dairying. These technical advances are creating new economic
opportunities par excellence for a range of agribusiness enterprises
to expand avenues for enhanced income in India.