In the next one year, Milk Mantra aims to fund its expansion in the East, and grow organically and inorganically in places such Kolkata, Raipur, Jamshedpur, and Ranchi. Once the brand is established, the company aims to go pan-India. Its key weapon: its network of 45,000 farmers, from whom it sources milk under its ‘ethical milk sourcing’ scheme.
Milk Mantra, a dairy company, raised its fourth round of funding from Neev Fund, and also had participation from its existing investors Eight Roads Ventures and Aavishkaar. With this, the company hopes to fund its expansion in the East, have a strategic presence in Kolkata and grow organically and inorganically in the next twelve months, in places such Kolkata, Raipur, Jamshedpur, and Ranchi.
Since last speaking to The Smart CEO team in 2015, the company now has two production facilities – one in the East and the other in West Odisha. It also has a contract manufacturing unit in Kolkata. The company’s team too has expanded from 500 to 1200, and has 45,000 farmers in its network through who it sources milk under its ‘Ethical Milk Sourcing’ plan.
We don’t have a big R&D budget, but encourage new ideas that can be converted into a product. Mango Dahi is one example of how we identified a product just through simple ideation
The company is now focused on building its product portfolio, and is developing a milk shake using curcumin – an active turmeric agent and the first of its kind. Apart from this, the company also has ready-to-consume dairy products under the Milk Moo brand, such as mishti dahi, to which mango dahi is going to be added. Litchi lassi is yet another introduction that is slated to hit the market soon.
“We don’t have a big R&D budget, but we always encourage new ideas that can be converted into a product,” explains Srikumar Misra, Founder, MD and CEO. Not only are employees encouraged to share ideas, but it is a collaborative process, where even vendors and partners contribute to the product development process with inputs.
The company also believes in investing more on product, packaging and convenience to keep an edge over competition rather than mere brand building. Its ethical sourcing program has enabled it to build customer trust and loyalty as it is centered around the theme of purity. But over and above that, Milk Mantra also uses digital media effectively to connect to its customers.
“With scale, challenge of execution becomes amplified especially in fresh dairy, where reaching customers on time is critical,” Misra points out. Therefore, supply chain management, logistics and warehousing processes also become important and as the company seeks to expand base, the second challenge would be of replicating its success across regions.
But Misra and Milk Mantra are ready for the challenge and in three years, he hopes to see Milky Moo as the leading fresh dairy brand in the country. Once the brand is established, the next step would be to go pan-India, says the founder.
Insights from Milk Mantra
Product development Approach: All stakeholders and partners contribute ideas, which are then developed based on feasibility and appeal. The idea is to create a larger pool of dairy products.
Ethical Sourcing Approach: The mainstay of Milk Mantra’s dairy business is sourcing milk ethically from farmers. The company has 45,000 farmers in its network and is expanding.
Marketing Approach Approach: Building its brand on the theme of purity, Milk Mantra is also active in leveraging the digital media to build its reputation. It has established an office in Kolkata to further expand its reach in the east.