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India Tops World in Cheese

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

The Indian cheese industry was established back in the 1950s and now exports more cheese than any European country.

India is one of the world’s largest and fastest growing markets for milk and value-added milk products. Though India was not considered a cheese loving nation a few years back, now cheese producers are expanding in the Indian market.

Indian consumers are now more willing to buy off the shelf. With improving international exposure and brand affiliation, the demand for niche cheese products is reported to be increasing every year. Mckinsey, a global management consulting firm, has predicted growth in demand for cheese by 40 percent by 2011.The projection is based on a multi-year study of dairy consumption patterns in China. The company says that with India having similar consumer trends - like rising incomes, Westernization and urbanization - the demand for cheese in India is likely to be a 25 percent-30 percent higher and there is likely to be 5 percent-10 percent growth in demand in tier-two cities.

The urban population accounts for major cheese consumption in India. The four metropolitan cities Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata consume over 60 percent of the total cheese sold in India. Mumbai is said to be leading the list with 30 percent, followed by Delhi at 20 percent, Kolkota at 7 percent and Chennai at 6 percent.

Amul a brand that entered the market with a bang - is capitalizing on the demand for specialized cheeses like Gouda and Emmental.

Processed cheese and cheese spreads account for about 80 percent of total cheese consumption. Children are the major contributors to this market upscale, though it increasingly forms part of the mainstream adult diet.

Dabon is the only international cheese company to produce and sell cheese in the country, using the brand name Le Bon. It has a state of the art facility in Noida, near Delhi.

Also, the acquisition of Cadbury Plc by Kraft Foods Inc. is considered to be an important turning point in India’s packaged food market. Kraft Foods Inc. is also set to raise the profile of Cadbury products in Asia as it gears up investments in developing markets, particularly the Asia-Pacific region, which has become Kraft’s key growth driver.

Because of the limited shelf life of cheese product and lack of advanced packaging, processing and distribution technology, many regional cheese brands are currently not able to retail nationwide.Reports indicate that scientists from the Institute for Food Research have identified a way of using a virus to control levels of the Clostridium tyrobutyricum bacteria in cheese to prevent spoilage and minimize product waste.

C. tyrobutyricum, which originates from the silage that cows eat, is noted as a significant problem for cheese makers, especially manufacturers of hard or semi-hard cheeses. It is believed that even small levels can produce butyric acid, which gives off a rancid taste, and can result in an excess build-up of carbon dioxide, causing cracks.

Also, scientists claim to have identified and characterized a microorganism - endolysin that specifically attacks the contaminant.IF IF R research leader Arjan Narbad has reported this to be effective in reducing levels of C. tyrobutyricum.

In India, cottage cheese is very commonly used in most houses and goes by the name of “paneer.” Other than this, popular kinds of cheese include cream cheese; curd cheese; brie; camembert ; mozzarella; ricotta; and Roule,.

Other cheeses include manchego; cantal;cheshire; emmental; dunlop; and cheddar.

Facts

Nestle , unveiled a plan to invest in a new chilling centre in Kilinochchi, Sri Lanka, to expand the dairy industry there.

Located in the northern province of the country, the centre is reported to be the first to be opened in the area in 30 years. “This area is a zone which was earlier not accessible for such development. Now that the northeastern areas are conflict free, we are keen to develop these areas, especially with regard to the dairy industry, in line with the government’s vision,” a spokesperson for the company reported. The company was recently acknowledged by the International Union of Food Science and Technology with its prestigious President’s Award, which is given in recognition of efforts to advance global food science and technology for the benefit of everyone.

According to an analyst, the Indian dairy industry is said to be attracting a large number of entrepreneurs. The analyst believes that success depends on factors such as an efficient yet economical procurement network, hygienic and cost-effective processing facilities and innovativeness in the marketplace.

High demand and competition has resulted in a number of amalgamations within the industry, which has contributed largely to the enhanced efficiency including investments into new packing and storage. The industry is more streamlined and automated.

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