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Camel milk has many takers, but inconsistent supply is a roadblock

Ajita Shashidhar     August 17, 2019

If you are lactose intolerant or diabetic, camel milk could be a good substitute to the regular cow milk. It is also supposed to be a good option for autistic children as it helps reduce hyperactivity. Camel milk contains proteins, which are similar to insulin and is good for diabetics. The health benefits of camel milk has not just attracted entrepreneurs such as Aadvik Foods but also the country's biggest dairy company, the Rs-45,000 crore Amul to jump into the fray. Amul first launched camel milk dark chocolates last year and followed it up with 500 ml camel milk pouch.

But will camel milk replace cow milk any time soon? Not really. While there may be popular camel milk brands such as Camalicious in the Middle East and Desert Farm in the US, in India the challenge is that camel milk can be sourced only from Rajasthan and Kutch region of Gujarat. Amul, for instance, sources just 5,000 litres per day while Aadvik sources around 300 litres of milk every day. "We started sourcing camel milk as there was a request from our milk union in Kutch. We will now invest in camel rearing too, as we have got good response to camel milk from the market," points out R.S. Sodhi, MD, Amul.

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Since sourcing camel milk is a challenge, it is obviously priced at a premium. While a 200 ml bottle of Aadvik's camel milk is priced at Rs 100, Amul's camel milk is priced at Rs 50 for a 500 ml bottle. The latter's competitive pricing is clearly due to its sourcing might. The shelf life of camel milk is 30 per cent lesser than cow milk, so it has to be stored in a frozen condition, thus making it difficult to transport it from one place to another. That's the reason the likes of Aadvik Food have started selling camel milk in powder form. "We make sure we don't remove any of the medicinal properties while converting it into powder. We sell camel milk powder in chocolate and banana flavours and that does extremely well for us on e-commerce platforms," says Shrey Kumar, Co-Founder, Aadvik Foods. Kumar says that he plans to launch a host of value-added camel milk products, which he hopes would give him higher growth.

Avani Davda, MD, Nature's Basket, says that while many alternatives to dairy products such as almond milk and soy milk are doing extremely well, the problem camel milk is facing is inconsistent supply that has led them to de-list the product. "It's a good product and is receiving lot of enquiries, but the supply is inconsistent. I am not sure if entrepreneurs will be able to build a strong business model unless they make sure that the supply is consistent." However, with Amul entering the fray, Davda says that the supply challenge at her stores would be taken care off.

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