Manish Bandlish, Managing Director of Mother Dairy, reveals that the biggest challenge for a heritage brand like Mother Dairy is to stay relevant to the consumer and stay true to the brand purpose set at the outset. “With each new generation, we have to learn to speak their language and stay relevant to them. Brands mean different things to different generations,” he says.
He adds: “The way I remember Mother Dairy when I was young is very different from how my children see it. It’s important to know the younger generation and speak in their language to stay relevant to them.
Bandlish informs that within its milk portfolio, the R&D team has worked on the tonic milk offer in order to give options to consumers who are embracing new health trends. “The brand’s central positioning is quality, trust and innovation. Our product portfolio has grown to such an extent that we now offer breakfast to dinner offerings, and consumers turn to us for quality dairy products that are central to their daily diet,” adds- he.
Catering to younger consumers doesn’t mean Mother Dairy will quickly embrace new era trends like veganism.
“We will never get into plant-based milk or other dairy alternatives. This defeats the purpose of creating Mother Dairy – which is to facilitate good business for dairy farmers,” says Bandlish firmly, adding that while lifestyle choices like veganism are on the rise, the dairy market in India continues to evolve and as such, milk and dairy products will continue to find their place in the market. the grocery basket of Indian consumers.
At almost 50 years old, Mother Dairy is among the oldest local brands in India. While hitting the 50-year mark is easily one of the most coveted milestones for a brand, it also comes with challenges. Born as a result of the White Revolution started by Dr. V Kurien in the form of Amul, Mother Dairy started its journey focusing on the Delhi NCR region and has now expanded to over 100 cities.
For Mother Dairy, this has meant constant innovation in their product offerings and communication. Created in 1974 as a 100% subsidiary of the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB), the brand follows the same model as Amul. It acts as a bridge between milk producers and consumers, ensuring the effective marketing and sale of dairy products and providing milk producers with the means to conduct their business efficiently.
While founded as part of the dairy co-operative movement, Mother Dairy has over the years expanded its product portfolio to keep up with the times and changing consumer tastes. Its product portfolio in the dairy segment includes ice cream, paneer, cheese and lassi/buttermilk apart from milk.
The brand’s original positioning is reflected in the brand’s logo and packaging, he explains. The shape of the logo signifies the world of Mother Dairy with an arch at the top evoking the brand’s caring values to all its stakeholders, from farmers to consumers. The blue and white color combination in the logo unit denotes the dairy connection and also represents purity, wholesomeness, naturalness and trust.
Bandlish explains that the name Mother Dairy was also chosen to signify that this (brand) is the central point of operation for dairy farmers to distribute and market their product.
Going forward, Mother Dairy aims to strengthen its distribution and marketing in the markets where it is already established. “We are constantly working to consolidate our position in existing markets in the coming years and (will) gradually venture into new markets to expand our distribution and consumer base,” says Bandlish.
He points out that the dairy industry in India has a lot more peaks to reach. Given the breadth and length of the country, and the under-penetration of the organized sector (in the dairy sector), he believes that in the years to come, organized actors will be able to take advantage of their infrastructure and to develop the market.
This is one of the reasons why he also believes Amul and Mother Dairy don’t need to compete for consumer attention. “I think the market is big enough and has enough leeway for both Amul and Mother Dairy to grow,” he adds. Amul of course has a head start of almost 25 years on Mother Dairy, but Bandlish is convinced that the two can co-exist.