The Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF) has launched ultra-high temperature (UHT) treated camel milk in PET bottles and camel milk powder that retains its medicinal properties.
“Camel milk is a relatively new product and we are in the process of establishing its market. So far, we were selling camel milk by packing it in plastic pouches. However, there were complaints from retail outlets about losses as milk packed in pouches has shelf-life of three to four days and they had to destroy unsold stock. To overcome this challenge, we launched UHT processed camel milk packed in PET bottles around two weeks ago. This milk will have shelf-life of 180 days and can be stored at room temperature. This will make the product more consumer-friendly and will also help us overcome logistics challenges,” Valamji Humbal, vice-chairman of GCMMF, told The Indian Express on Sunday.
In UHT process, milk is boiled at high temperatures to make it sterile and so treated milk then can be stored for a long time at room temperature without any preservatives, while also keeping most its properties intact.
GCMMF is the apex body of 18 district cooperative milk producers unions covering 33 districts of Gujarat and markets dairy and fruit beverages products under the brand name Amul. It is among the biggest dairies of the world, procuring approximately 23 lakh litres milk per day from around 36 lakh milk producers networked through its 18,600 village cooperative societies. Its turnover last fiscal was Rs 38,550 crore and has a network of one lakh dealers and 10 lakh retailers.
Amul launched camel milk in select markets of Kutch, Ahmedabad, Gandhinagar, Anand, and Rajkot in January 2019. At present, Kutch District Cooperative Milk Producers Union Limited, popularly known as Sarhad Dairy and one of the member unions of GCMMF, procures camel milk from Kutch district.
“The procurement is demand-based. Currently, we are procuring around 1,500 litres of camel milk per day through around 50 of our village-level cooperative societies in Rapar and Nakhtrana talukas of Kutch. But the total potential is around 3,000 litres per day day and the procurement network can be extended to Lakhpat, Abdasa and Bhachau talukas if we find market. The new packaging will enable us explore new markets,” Humbal said.
Amul already sells camel milk chocolate besides selling camel milk in liquid form. It also sells medium-fat ice cream made from camel milk. “The plant of our AmulFed Dairy in Gandhinagar has succeeded in manufacturing camel milk powder through a process which retains all its medicinal properties,” Humbal, who is also chairman of Sarhad Dairy, said adding, “Camel milk is very rich source of insulin-like protein and can help persons with diabetes.”
GCMMF managing director RS Sodhi said that they will market camel milk and camel milk powder as health products. “Camel milk has lots of minerals and we will highlight its health benefits as a marketing strategy,” Sodhi said.
According to 20th Livestock Census, camel population in Gujarat dropped to 28,000 in 2019 from 30,000 in 2012. Of the 28,000, around 12,000 are in Kutch district. “There is potential of collecting camel milk from Banaskantha district also. If we find larger market, we may think of procuring milk from camel breeders in Rajasthan as well,” added Humbal.
The Sarhad Dairy is procuring camel milk at Rs 51 per litre and is available in retail for Rs 100 per litre. Amul also sells camel milk ice cream.