Elevating the dynamics of Indian Dairy industry 

Dr Kishore Indukuri, Founder, Sid’s Farm

India is the highest milk producer in the world contributing 24 per cent of global milk production. The country produced 22 crore tons of milk in the year 2021-22, a commendable 51 per cent increase since 2014-15. Clearly, the country holds a lion’s share in the global dairy industry. 

The Indian dairy and dairy-based food market contributes substantially to the country’s economy, rural livelihoods, and food security. With a wide and diverse range of products, the Indian dairy industry rules the oligopoly in the global dairy industry.

The dairy industry in India is primarily driven by a vast network of small dairy farmers. For centuries, this decentralised approach has ensured widespread income distribution and employment opportunities in rural areas. However, over the decades, to create India as a global milk destination, organising farmers and providing them with better access to markets and technology has been a pivotal requirement.

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, has played an impeccable role in building and nurturing the brand value of the Indian dairy industry. As the organization completes 15 years in the country, it is time to ideate, prepare and execute a plan of action that would accelerate and expand the unopposed leadership of the Indian dairy industry in the world. 

As an organisation that has been redefining the dynamics of milk production with a focused effort on milk purity, Sid’s Farm believes that the Indian dairy industry can redefine its dominance in the global arena in the future. Over the next decade, FSSAI can bring a renewed perspective in areas of milk production, distribution, and quality to strengthen global positioning.

Proposed plan for the next 10 years

Milk consumption in India is deeply ingrained in its culture and cuisine. Dairy-based foods are integral to daily diets and play a crucial nutritional role in providing protein and essential nutrients to all age groups.

In recent years, the market has witnessed a shift towards value-added dairy products. With urbanisation and changing lifestyles, brands are innovating and introducing flavoured yogurts, probiotic drinks, and fortified products to cater to changing consumer preferences for health and convenience. This shift has transformed the dairy sector from being solely a provider of basic nutrition to a dynamic and competitive market.

Adapting to global trends, there is a rising demand for organic and sustainable products that has led to the emergence of organic dairy farming and products. The industry is constantly embracing technology for improved animal husbandry, milk processing, and distribution.

Various Government initiatives like Operation Flood and Rashtriya Gokul Mission have aimed to boost production and improve quality to address the challenges such as low milk productivity per animal, outdated farming practices, and inadequate cold chain infrastructure. 

However, there are certain areas where changes can lead to increased development of the industry, as mentioned below:

Stringent antibiotic residue norms

There is a dire need to tighten antibiotic residue norms for milk and increase surveillance throughout the value chain of milk production.  Although FSSAI has established stringent antibiotic residue norms for milk to ensure consumer safety, maintain the quality of dairy products and prevent the presence of harmful residues in milk, reports on the presence of antibiotic residue in milk emerge from time to time. Some dairy farmers misuse antibiotics to enhance animal growth or treat infections without adhering to proper norms. However, this misuse can lead to residues exceeding the prescribed limits in milk, posing health risks to consumers and contributing to antibiotic resistance. 100% antibiotic-free milk should be the norm across the country to uplift the quality of milk in India.

NABL-accredited labs 

 We live in times where customers personally want to ensure the quality of food that they consume. An increased number of NABL-accredited labs across the country will enable customers to get samples tested on their own at affordable rates. The need for NABL accreditation arises from the complexity and sensitivity of milk sample testing, especially for antibiotic residues, adulterants, and quality parameters. Advanced techniques and equipment, skilled personnel, and stringent quality control measures, at labs provide accurate and consistent results that uphold the trust of the customers and benefit the dairy farmers as well. Adherence to international standards enhances consumer safety, prevents mislabeling, and fosters the growth of a trustworthy and robust dairy industry.

Awareness drives for manufacturers

The FSSAI plays a pivotal role in enforcing standards for milk and dairy items. Increasing awareness drives on manufacturing regulations is vital to ensure that milk and milk product manufacturers are well-informed about the changing regulations in the country. Thus, organizing awareness campaigns, workshops, and training sessions, can educate manufacturers about compliance with these standards and aid in producing safe and high-quality products while adhering to legal requirements. This increased awareness can also foster a culture of self-regulation within the dairy industry where manufacturers have a clear understanding of their responsibilities, and adopt best practices.

Integrating proprietary dairy food products Innovations in dairy food products are expanding exponentially to keep up with changing market trends and customer demands. However, many of these proprietary food items have not yet been standardised under the FSSRS (Food Products Standards & Food Additives) regulations. Currently, only 377 food products have the standards specified in the regulations. This limits manufacturers from innovating manufacturing, distributing, selling, and even importing or exporting these proprietary milk products. Keeping up with the global trends, the Indian dairy industry can witness accelerated growth with new product categories, like special tea milk, low-fat milk powder, and buttermilk powder, in the market. Thus, including some of the proprietary dairy food products, without long-drawn procedures for product approval, can be a game changer for the industry.

Joining hands with brands

 Promoting the growth of milk brands in India involves a comprehensive approach that includes strengthening the supply chain and herd capacity, while also curbing the presence of substandard products. Strict monitoring and penalties for reconstituted milk and synthetic dairy products can be a pivotal step in achieving this goal. Leading milk brands can enhance their supply chain by establishing partnerships with local farmers and cooperatives. This collaboration not only ensures a consistent and quality milk supply but also supports rural livelihoods. Investments in improving cattle breeding, feeding practices, and veterinary care can also boost the overall health and productivity of the herd. These prominent brands can also play a vital role in monitoring and penalising reconstituted milk and synthetic dairy products to further uplift quality throughout the value chain in the dairy industry.

Collaborating with brands to keep an eye on the industry

Prominent milk brands in India can significantly play a pivotal role in establishing a robust dairy industry. FSSAI can partner with leading dairy partner brands, audit their products and process, and empanel them to ensure stricter monitoring, model production facilities, model product composition etc., in the industry. This initiative would reinforce stricter monitoring, improve production facilities, and standardise product composition. The audit panel, composed of experts in food safety, dairy technology, and quality assurance, would conduct regular and thorough assessments of the manufacturing practices in the industry. By identifying areas for improvement, the panel can ensure peak efficiency and standard in production facilities. Additionally, the panel’s unbiased assessments would provide transparency in the industry. The creation of an audit panel can offer a proactive and continuous approach to quality assurance. The partner brands can act as model systems for the industry and can educate through relevant case studies.


The FSSAI may also act as an accreditation body, giving rating to dairy manufacturers and traders on various aspects like procurement, hygiene, cold chain & storage, ethical testing, consumer awareness initiatives, packaging, etc. This would make companies strive for continued improvement and maintenance of standards in excellence. Coming from the most reliable body like FSSAI, it would also add to the brand value while promoting the right practices.

All these measures can enhance the practices in the dairy industry, brands can establish themselves as reliable sources of nutritious and safe dairy products, foster consumer loyalty and elevate the overall integrity of the dairy industry.

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