Just in case you are unaware, India ranks as the world’s second largest milk producing country.
India produces close to 61 billion kilograms of milk annually- or over nine percent of total milk produced worldwide.
Imagine your world without milk…
Coffee and tea would be consumed black, there would be no ice-cream or lassi to enjoy, Indian sweets that are renowned across the world would be non-existent and that bar of chocolate would not taste as good.
And nor would you be able to offer milk to growing up kids or enjoy a glass of this nutritious drink yourself.
India's Export of Dairy products was 48039.4 MT to the world which is worth of Rs. 1196.19 Crores / 185.49 USD Millions during the year 2017-18.
Top markets for fresh Indian milk daily include Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and to some extent, Myanmar. Countries in the Arabian Gulf region also buy milk from India.
Domestically, Indian milk is used for producing yoghurt, butter and cheese, ghee, Indian sweets, paneer and many other products.
Milk is also used to make chocolate and ice-cream. It finds uses in the pharmaceutical industry and has other commercial applications too.
Hence, it is essential to know which companies have taken India to this leading position in milk production.
List of 10 Best Dairy Companies in India
To a great extent, the milk industry of India revolves around cooperative federations.
This allows farmers, cow and buffalo breeders to sell their milk at good prices and get money for a better lifestyle.
There are a few private players too but the market is dominated by cooperative federations.
1. Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation Ltd (AMUL)
Who has not heard of Amul?
You will find their advertisements on hoardings across your street corner, on TV, radio and newspapers.
Amul is India’s most popular and single largest selling brand of milk and milk products. Actually, Amul is an abbreviation for Anand Milk Producers Union Ltd, which began as small cooperative in Anand district of Gujarat.
It is now part of the larger Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation Ltd.
Amul is India’s largest milk federation
Amul was launched in 1946 by Sardar Vallabbhai Patel who was approached by poor farmers of Gujarat to stop exploitation by middlemen who paid low rates for their milk while selling for high prices in cities.
The veteran freedom fighter conceived what is now renowned worldwide as Amul Model: farmers and cattle owners selling milk directly to regional cooperative societies for better prices.
Amul makes ghee, paneer, yoghurt, lassi, flavoured milk, chocolate, ice-cream and other milk based products too that are popular in India and abroad.
Over 15 million milk producers sell their produce to over 144,000 dairy cooperatives across India. This milk is processed at plants operated by 186 district cooperative unions and marketed by 22 state milk cooperative federations in the country.
The Amul Model is a unique example for the world. It has been replicated in every Indian state. It is also the most successful cooperative venture in the world.
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2. Karnataka Cooperative Milk Producers Federation Ltd (NANDINI)
Karnataka Cooperative Milk Producers Federation Ltd (KMF) may not sound familiar.
But what about the brand Nandini?
Surely it rings a bell and sounds familiar. Nandini is India’s second largest milk federation and also follows the cooperative model.
It is also ranked as the most successful example of cooperatives in South India.
Nandini began as a small brand of milk and milk products with markets limited to Karnataka and a few bordering states.
It was established in 1974 and got instant success in the Karnataka market for purity and high quality milk and milk products. Its fame spread across South India, which promoted KMF to expand operations.
Today, Nandini brand ghee, paneer, yogurt and other products are sold across India. Fresh milk from Nandini is popular across South India and western states Maharashtra and Goa.
KMF now has 14 milk unions covering all districts of the state to collect milk from producers in rural Karnataka.
This milk is processed at Nandini factories run by regional cooperatives in various towns and cities of Karnataka for sale.
These factories also manufacture ghee, paneer, Indian sweets and lots of other milk-based products for the Indian market.
This cooperative the first ever dairy development program funded in India by World Bank’s International Development Agency. It was established as part of Operation Flood.
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3. Mother Dairy
Mother Dairy was established in 1974. It is a subsidiary of the Indian government’s National Dairy Development Board (NDDB).
Mother Dairy was launched as part of Operation Flood about which we will talk later in this article. Its products are marketed under the eponymous brand- Mother Dairy.
This is a household name in India and some foreign countries too.
Initially, Mother Dairy’s role was limited to procuring, processing and supplying milk to New Delhi and National Capital Region (NCR).
Today, Mother Dairy milk and milk products are available across the country. Mother Dairy also produces milk-based products for domestic and foreign markets including yoghurt ghee, paneer and a wide range of ice-creams.
Large companies manufacturing chocolate and ice-cream also source part of their supplies from Mother Dairy.
4. Shree Warana Sahakary Dudh Utpadack Prakriva Sangh Ltd (Warana)
Warana is a brand owned by Kolhapur-based Shree Warana Sahakary Dudh Utpadack Prakriva Sangh Ltd.
It was established in 1955 as a cooperative for uplifting 90 percent of farmers in the Kolhapur-Satara-Sangli region of Maharashtra who were landless and worked in sugarcane fields.
In 1968, Warana began procuring milk from poverty stricken farmer at higher rates, processing it at their unit near Kolhapur for supply within the city and its outskirts.
The brand Warana- named after an eponymous river in that region, soon gained immense popularity.
This cooperative is one of the most successful examples in India. It has a turnover of nearly Rs.12 billion per year.
Warana brand milk is popular across Maharashtra and has markets in adjoining Karnataka, Goa and parts of Andhra Pradesh.
The company’s flagship brand is Warana Shrikhand- a sweet made from milk, available across India.
You can get several products from this brand including Warana Milk Powder, UHT Milk in Tetra Pack and Warana sweets.
Warana is famous for its ghee, butter, cheese, paneer, chass (buttermilk), yoghurt, lassi and ice cream.
In recent years, Warana products have found markets in countries of the Arabian Gulf region. Its dairy products are also exported to Africa, US,, Europe and China, among other countries.
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5. Pradeshik Cooperative Dairy Federation
Pradeshik Cooperative Dairy Federation ranks among topmost milk producers in India.
This is because it is a cooperative operated by Uttar Pradesh- the Indian state that has the highest production of milk in the country. Its products are sold across India under the brand name Parag.
PCDF was formed in 1962 to develop organized dairying in UP on a cooperative basis. Its formation led to the elimination of middlemen that exploited milk producers while earning hefty profits themselves.
PCDF produces milk and a broad range of milk products. These include skimmed milk powder, whole milk powder, butter, ghee, paneer, Indians sweets and milk-based flavoured drinks.
Additionally, PCDF is also one of the main suppliers to India’s National Milk Grid operated by Mother Dairy as part of the Central government’s initiative to ensure affordable milk for all people of India.
PCDF was also chosen by the World Bank to implement Operation Flood project in Uttar Pradesh.
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6. The Punjab State Cooperative Milk Producers Federation Ltd
You may have definitely used Verka ghee at home or tasted it elsewhere. It is one of the products made by The Punjab State Cooperative Milk Producers Federation Ltd.
Verka is a household name across India for highest quality milk and milk products from Punjab.
Verka was earlier known by the brand name, Milkfed. Regardless of where you live in India, it is possible to buy Verka ghee and other products from your nearby supermarket.
The Punjab State Cooperative Milk Producers’ Federation Limited (Milkfed) was established in 1973 to promote dairy industry.
The objectives were to provide local producers with a channel to sell fresh milk daily at better value in the local market.
Another objective was to provide the latest technology and technical assistance required to bolster production in the already milk-rich state.
Milkfed’s state-wide operations began in 1983 after milk processing plants owned by Punjab Dairy Development Corporation Ltd were granted the cooperative status and became an integral part of Operation Flood.
Milkfed markets various products under the Verka brand. These include ghee, paneer, butter, yoghurt, flavoured milk-based drinks and long-life milk among others.
With Verka brand, you can be assured of getting the finest quality milk products from Punjab.
7. Madhya Pradesh State Cooperative Dairy Federation Ltd
Madhya Pradesh is a state of India rich in forests and known for its lush farmlands. It is but natural that Madhya Pradesh emerges as a topmost milk producing state of India.
Thanks to efforts of MP State Cooperative Dairy Federation Ltd, the state now ranks among the highest producers of milk and dairy products.
Sanchi is the brand name of milk and milk products marketed by MP State Cooperative Dairy Federation Ltd.
It was set up using the Amul Model of cooperative milk collection and processing. Now, the cooperative markets its Sanchi range of milk and milk products in MP and other adjoining states.
If you are travelling by train and happen to halt at a railway station in MP, it is most likely you will come across a Sanchi milk parlour there.
Here you can buy excellent milk, sweets, flavoured milk-based drinks, yoghurt and lassi to stay refreshed during the journey.
You can also buy Sanchi products in various other states through their own parlours and supermarkets.
The cooperative is a major supplier to the National Milk Grid of India, given its high rate of milk production and strategic location in the country.
8. Britannia Industries Ltd
Till date, Britannia Industries Ltd is famous for its amazing array of biscuits and various types of bread available across India and some foreign countries.
But BIL is also a major player in India’s dairy business.
They include Britannia Ultra High Technology (UHT) processed Toned Milk sold in Tetra Packs, Britannia Dairy Whitener for coffee and tea, Britannia butter, Britannia cheese, Britannia Daily Fresh plain and flavoured yoghurt, Britannia Cow Ghee, Britannia Ghee Danedar, Britannia Cream Cheese, Britannia Cheeza and Britannia Cheese Spreadz available in six different flavours.
BIL has over 100 year history in India and reaches to customers through some five million outlets across the country.
Its milk products are sold from more than 100,000 stores and brand stores in India.
BIL’s products reach over 50 percent of Indian homes, according to the company website.
Milk and dairy products business contributes about five percent revenue to BIL. The company has annual revenues in excess of Rs.90 billion.
Britannia dairy products are giving stiff competition to some products made and marketed by state-run cooperatives of India due to their high quality and trust in BIL brand.
9. Nestle India
Given the size of the Indian consumer market and the country’s second rank in worldwide milk production, it is natural that Multinational Companies will enter the field.
So far, the only MNC to have entered the dairy industry is Swiss major, Nestle SA. Worldwide, Nestle is the leader in milk and milk products.
In India too, Nestle offers a wide range of products. But most of its brands popular in the international market are conspicuously missing in India.
Nestle India makes Nestle a+ Nourish and Nestle a+ Slim long-life fortified milk brands for fitness conscious.
You can also buy superior quality yoghurt made with special probiotics from the Nestle a+ brand.
The company’s Milkmaid brand of condensed milk is most famous among Indian households and has been in the market since times immemorial.
Other dairy products of Nestle India include Everyday Dairy Whitener and Nestle a+ Greyko Greek yoghurt available in various exotic fruity flavours.
For reasons unknown, Nestle India has not ventured into the milk powder market of India to offer global brands like Nido and Klim brands of milk powders. Nor has it launched classic and flavoured milk cream in India.
10. Srikrishna Milks Pvt Ltd
Srikrishna Milks Pvt Ltd is the first private sector enterprise in the dairy industry of Karnataka.
It was established in 1989 by a group of local investors. In those days, it had a total capacity to process 500 litres of milk.
The company now has large manufacturing units in Kirvatti village near Yellapur town, about 50km from Hubli.
The area is known for its dense tiger infested forests and lush green farmlands that make it ideal for cattle breeding and grazing.
With nearly three decades of operations, Srikrishna dairy has become a household name in many states, including Karnataka, Goa, Maharashtra and parts of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.
The company also sources and produces milk from the farmers in various other states for processing and is marketed under the Srikrishna brand.
Other than toned and whole cow and buffalo milk sold in pouches, Srikrishna Milks Pvt Ltd also makes ghee and a wide range of Indian sweets that are available in various states of India.
You can also buy ice-cream from the Srikrishna brand in Karnataka, Goa, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana as well as Maharashtra.
Srikrishna Milks Pvt Ltd has ISO 22000-2005 certification for quality and manufacturing from the global certifying agency, TUV NORD.
While the above top 10 companies dominate India’s milk and dairy products market, there are two dairy organizations that deserve special mention.
11. Jammu & Kashmir Milk Producers Cooperative Ltd
Jammu & Kashmir Milk Producers Co-operative Ltd was created in 2004 as part of Operation Flood with the help of Amul.
However, this milk cooperative suffered heavily due to Pakistani sponsored terrorists frequently attacking the state and disrupting its milk supplies to needy civilians.
The cooperative continued its activities dauntlessly in face of terrorism from across the India-Pakistan border.
Its farmers and logistics providers continue their efforts to maintain milk supplies in areas despite threats from Pakistan trained and sponsored terrorists that infiltrate into the Indian state. This cooperative markets milk and dairy products under the brand Snow Cap.
12. Anik Industries
Anik ranks among the oldest privately owned dairy companies of India. It has been around in the market for more than 55 years.
It markets Anik Ghee and Anikspray milk powder. Given the range of its products, Anik Industries may appear an insignificant dairy company in India. However, its history proves otherwise.
Anik was the first company in India to launch dairy whitener in India, which was a product developed by international tea giant, Lipton & Co.
The brand went extinct recently due to low demand for dairy whiteners in India and stiff competition from an MNC and one local manufacturer with reach across the country.
Its ghee is the finest quality, made of milk from cows that breed in Madhya Pradesh. Anikspray is whole milk powder that retains its old-world purity till date.
13. Dairy Scenario in India
After reading this article, you might be surprised that most top dairy companies in India are state-run cooperatives, with only one MNC and few private firms in the fray.
The reason can be traced to pre-independence times when the Indian subcontinent was ruled by British invaders.
Socio-economic system prevalent in that era vested too many powers in the hands of landlords.
Hence, farmers lost their lands and toiled as labourers in fields across the country. Millions of these landless labourers owned at least one cattle- a cow of buffalo which would be used also for farming while they sold the milk to eke existence.
Middlemen bought the milk at very low rates and sold it in cities to make much higher profits. This led to the evolution of cooperative milk movement in India.
The cooperative movement would pave way for Operation Flood, which made India the second largest producer of milk in the world.
Earlier, milk was a precious commodity and mainstay of the affluent. India had to depend upon milk powder and butter-oil donated by foreign countries for processing to be sold as milk. This is when Operation Flood was launched.
Hence, the dairy industry of India remains in the hands of cooperatives since they look after the welfare of farmers and milk producers while implementing government policies at boosting milk production.
Operation Flood was launched by the Indian government in 1970 and continues to remain the world’s largest dairy development program.
It was launched at a time when India was deficient in milk production. The program was spearheaded by Dr Verghese Kurien, also known as ‘Father of White Revolution’ of India.
He was earlier the founder and chairman of Amul and was chosen to head the program by erstwhile Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi.
Dr.Kurien was made the head of NDDB. He applied the Amul Model of cooperative milk federations to other states of India.
It led to the creation of the National Milk Grid of India, the only milk supply network of its kind in the world.
The network ensures that no state remains milk deficient and the commodity is available at very affordable rates to all people.
India achieved its rank as the second largest milk producer due to efforts of Dr.Kurien and his team.
A movie commemorating Operation Flood and Dr. Kurien was made by noted filmmaker, Shyam Benegal. Titled ‘Manthan’ it depicts the strength of cooperatives: Dr. Kurien persuaded over 500,000 milk producers to contribute a token Rs.2 for making the movie, which became an instant hit in Gujarat.
Unless you were born in before 1970s, you may not recall how parents or elders in the family had to rush to state-run milk booths at dawn to buy the daily quota of milk.
You were lucky if you managed to buy the desired quantity. Thankfully, those days of milk deficiency in India are now relegated to history by combined efforts of these top milk cooperative companies in India.
Their work has helped milk prices to remain largely affordable to all segments of the Indian population.
The next time you pick up tea, coffee or a glass of milk, bite into a chocolate, enjoy yummy ice-cream or taste an Indian sweet, remember the role played by these top Indian dairy companies.