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How Amul Diary Conquered India’s Dairy Industry: The Story of a Cooperative Movement

Amul Diary is a household name in India and one of the world’s largest dairy product manufacturers. It has a rich history, starting from its formation as a cooperative society in response to the exploitation of small dairy farmers by traders and agents. Amul Dairy became a symbol of the White Revolution, which made India the world’s largest producer of milk and milk products. In this blog post, we will explore the story of how Amul Diary conquered India’s dairy industry as a cooperative movement.

History of Amul Diary

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Anand Milk Union Limited (Amul) is a state government-owned dairy-based cooperative society officially named the Gujarat Milk Marketing Federation based in Anand, Gujarat. It is under the ownership of Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation Limited, Department of Cooperation, Government of Gujarat. It is controlled by 3.6 million milk producers within the city.

Amul Diary was found on 19 December 1946, as a response to the exploitation of small dairy farmers by traders and agents. At the time, milk prices were arbitrarily determined, giving Polson an effective monopoly in milk collection from Kaira and its subsequent supply to Mumbai. Frustrated with the trade practices (which they perceived as unfair), the farmers of Kaira, led by Tribhuvandas Patel, approached Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, who advised them to form a cooperative. If they did so, they would be able to directly supply their milk to the Bombay Milk Scheme instead of working for Polson. Sardar Patel sent Morarji Desai to organize the farmers.

Following a meeting in Chaklasi, the farmers formed the cooperative and resolved not to provide Polson with any more milk. Milk collection was decentralized, as most producers were marginal farmers who could deliver, at most, 1–2 liters of milk per day. Cooperatives were formed for each village.

By June 1948, the Kaira District Cooperative Milk Producers Union Ltd. (KDCMPUL) had started pasteurizing milk for the Bombay Milk Scheme. Then-Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri visited Anand to inaugurate Amul’s cattle feed factory. On 31 October 1964, he spoke to farmers about their cooperative. After returning to Delhi, he set in motion the creation of an organization, the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB), to replicate the Kaira cooperative in other parts of India.

The Cooperative’s Growth

Under the leadership of Tribhuvandas Patel, in 1973, Amul Diary celebrated its 25th anniversary with Morarji Desai, Maniben Patel, and Verghese Kurien. The cooperative was further developed through the efforts of Verghese Kurien and H. M. Dalaya. Dalaya’s innovation of making skim milk powder from buffalo milk was a technological breakthrough that revolutionized India’s organized dairy industry.

With Kurien’s help, the process was expanded on a commercial scale, which led to the first modern dairy cooperative at Anand. This cooperative would go on to compete against the established players in the market. The success of the trio (T. K. Patel, Kurien, and Dalaya) at the cooperative’s dairy soon spread to Anand’s neighborhood in Gujarat. Within a short span, five unions in other districts – Mehsana, Banaskantha, Baroda, Sabarkantha, and Surat – were set up, following the approach sometimes described as the Anand pattern.

In 1970, the cooperative spearheaded the “White Revolution” of India. To combine forces and expand the market while saving on advertising and avoiding competing against each other, the Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation Ltd., an apex marketing body of these district cooperatives, was set up in 1973. The Kaira District Co-operative Milk Producers’ Union Limited, also known as Amul Diary , was the first to join the federation. By 1998, this federation had expanded to include 13 district unions, making it the largest milk producer in India and one of the largest milk producers in the world.

The success of the cooperative has had a profound impact on India’s economy and society. By empowering farmers and rural communities, the cooperative has contributed to reducing poverty and inequality in the country. It has also played a significant role in improving the nutrition and health of millions of Indians by providing them with high-quality milk and dairy products. The cooperative’s success story has inspired similar initiatives in other sectors and countries, making it a model for sustainable development worldwide.

Innovation and Product Diversification

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One of the key reasons for Amul Diary’s success has been its emphasis on innovation and product diversification. The cooperative has always been keen to introduce new products and improve existing ones to meet changing customer needs. Over the years, it has expanded its product range to include butter, cheese, ice cream, milk powders, and other dairy products. Today, Amul offers over 400 different products across several categories, making it one of the most diversified dairy companies in the world.

One of the most successful product innovations by Amul was the introduction of Amul Spray Milk Powder in 1966. The product quickly became popular due to its convenience and long shelf life, and it is still one of the most popular milk powder brands in India today. Amul also introduced Amul Butter in 1955, which has become one of the most recognizable brands in the country. Amul’s ice cream range is also very popular and includes a wide range of flavors and varieties.

In addition to product diversification, Amul Diary has also been at the forefront of adopting new technologies and processes to improve efficiency and quality. For instance, the cooperative was one of the first in India to use electronic milk testers to measure the fat content of milk accurately, ensuring fair prices for farmers. They also implemented a unique system of payment based on milk quality, with farmers receiving higher prices for milk with higher fat content.

These measures helped to build trust among farmers and incentivized them to produce high-quality milk, further improving the quality of Amul’s products. The emphasis on innovation, product diversification, and quality has made Amul Diary a leading player in the Indian dairy industry, with a strong reputation for reliability and excellence.

Marketing and Advertising

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Another key factor that has contributed to Amul’s success is its marketing and advertising strategy. Verghese Kurien, who is often referred to as the “Father of the White Revolution,” is credited with revolutionizing the marketing of dairy products in India. In the 1960s, he came up with the idea of using billboard advertisements to promote Amul’s products. The ads featured a cute and lovable Amul girl, who became an instant hit with consumers.

The Amul girl, who was created by Sylvester Da Cunha in 1966, has since become an iconic brand mascot and is recognized by almost everyone in India. The ads featuring the Amul girl are known for their witty and humorous slogans that often comment on current events and social issues. The ads are changed frequently to keep them fresh and relevant, and they have played a significant role in creating brand awareness and loyalty for Amul.

In addition to billboard advertisements, Amul also uses other forms of marketing and promotion to reach its customers. The cooperative regularly engages in social media campaigns and has a strong presence on various platforms. Amul Diary has also sponsored major events and sports teams, including the Indian cricket team, and has been associated with several high-profile campaigns, such as the “Save the Girl Child” campaign. The company’s marketing and advertising strategies have been so successful that they have become a case study for marketing professionals around the world. Today, Amul is not just a dairy brand, but a cultural icon in India.

Social Impact

Apart from its commercial success, Amul has also had a significant social impact in India. The cooperative has helped to improve the lives of millions of small dairy farmers in Gujarat and other parts of the country. By providing them with a reliable source of income, Amul has helped to reduce poverty and improve the standard of living of these farmers.

Amul has also played a significant role in empowering women in rural India. Many of the dairy farmers who supply milk to Amul are women, and the cooperative has provided them with training and support to help them become successful entrepreneurs. Amul’s initiatives have helped to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment in the country.

Furthermore, Amul Diary has also been at the forefront of sustainable agriculture practices in India. The cooperative has been promoting eco-friendly and sustainable dairy farming practices among its member farmers for decades. This includes providing them with training and support to adopt practices such as organic farming, crop rotation, and composting. By promoting sustainable agriculture practices, Amul has not only helped to protect the environment but has also ensured the long-term viability of the dairy industry in India.

Conclusion

In conclusion, Amul Diary’s success story is an inspiration to entrepreneurs and cooperatives across the world. The cooperative has shown that it is possible to build a successful business while also creating a positive social impact. Amul’s emphasis on innovation, product diversification, marketing, and social impact has helped it become one of the most successful dairy companies in the world. Its success is a testament to the power of cooperative movements and the impact they can have on society.

Despite its success, Amul continues to face challenges in the highly competitive dairy industry. However, the cooperative’s ability to adapt to changing market conditions and consumer needs has helped it stay ahead of the competition. As Amul continues to expand its product range and explore new markets, it is likely to remain a dominant player in the Indian dairy industry for many years to come.

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