Usage of dairy substitutes upsets industry

 

 

The dairy industry has raised concerns on the increased penetration of dairy analogues (cheaper vegetable analogues such as palmolein in the place of real milk fat) by organised players in off-the-shelf sales and in restaurants.

Most often found in cheese, paneer, khoya, butter and ghee, the dairy analogues are mostly produced from plant processing and create serious implications for not just consumers but also dairy farmers, said industry experts.

The organised market of these categories of dairy products exceeds ₹30,000 crore. The domestic dairy industry faces a threat from these analogues which are cost-effective due to mechanised manufacturing processes and use of cheap non-milk ingredients.

Consumers can’t easily spot analogues as they are named and portrayed as dairy products. In preparations such as pizzas, cheese is among the costliest components, hence the use of analogues helps increase profit margins.

The dairy sector has also raised concerns about the violation of farmers’ interests, as vegetable fats replacing milk results in lower price realisation for farmers. GCMMF which markets the brand ‘Amul’ has made several representations to the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) to curb the use of analogues and formulate rules for them. It has also suggested draft rules for packaging and labelling dairy products with distinct colour differentiation to mark out the use of substitutes.

Nodal body for peanut consumption sought

As late rains help push up acreage of groundnut in Gujarat, the largest producing State, the trade body — to boost the oilseed crop’s prospects — has renewed its demand for the setting up of a peanut promotion council to encourage domestic consumption.

After last year’s bumper harvest of about 32 lakh tonnes, groundnut sowing in the current kharif season has been encouraging at around 14,65,438 hectares in Gujarat, covering about 90 per cent of the 16,20,300 hectares reported in the previous season.

The Saurashtra Oil Mills Association (SOMA) has reiterated its demand for creation of a dedicated promotion council for peanut to boost consumption and counter the possibility of a glut arising from a possibly large crop this year. In a letter to Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh, SOMA President Sameer Shah stated that for the welfare of the groundnut producing farmers, processors and allied industries, it was necessary to boost consumption demand.

Underlining the scope for value-addition in groundnut, SOMA has suggested that new markets can be developed for products such as peanut butter (which is already popular overseas), chocolate coating, peanut flour and for bakery items.

Lower crop lifts cardamom prices

Prices of cardamom have surged by around a fourth since early August as rain and floods have impacted the crop in the key growing regions of Kerala, the largest producer of the aromatic spice crop. Average prices at auctions in Kerala and Tamil Nadu, which hovered just below ₹1,000 a kg in early August, have now moved up to ₹1,220-1,260. Traders attributed this surge to crop losses suffered by growers in Idukki and Wayanad, the main growing regions in Kerala.

 

According to the Spices Board, India’s cardamom production in 2017-18 was estimated at 26,070 tonnes. Of this, small cardamom, which is largely grown in South India, accounted for 20,640 tonnes and large cardamom accounted for the rest. Kerala is the largest producer of small cardamom, followed by Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. In Karnataka, too, the excess rain in Kodagu, Hassan and Chikmagalur districts has impacted production of cardamom, but growers are yet to quantify the losses.

Growers estimate that the crop could be 40-60 per cent less than last year’s production, which was about 25,000 tonnes. Internationally also, production (from Guatemala) is expected to be at a lower level, which should support the bullish trend. Production in Guatemala, which used to be between 30,000 and 35,000 tonnes a couple of years ago, is now seen at around 20,000 tonnes.

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