While it is common for most FMCG brands to experiment with packaging in a quest to become distinct, pasteurised milk has never really moved very far beyond the white polyester packets with a cursory colour coding. However, all that is set to change, with Delhi-based Paras Dairy coming out with a seven-colour packaging for its milk variants - Creamy, Lite, Active and Diet.
The packaging has been designed by Rediffusion-Y&R, which has been handling the dairy brand since 2011. Percept/H was servicing Paras Dairy's creative duties before that.
The printing of the packaging is done at a specialised printing press at Daman, which usually does colour prints for edible oil packages. In fact, it is the only printing press that has 10 colour print facility in the country, according to Paras Dairy.
How does the company justify the 10-15 per cent increase in print cost for a category that has low margin profits? Sanjay Sinha, president, sales and marketing, Paras Dairy explains that the cost is justified as the new package is not only clutter breaking but also provides convenience to homemakers and consumers in terms of easily identifiable milk variants with nutritional information. "We have put a lot of nutritional information on the package as when we age our body undergoes changes and you need different milk for different stages of life," he says.
Sinha adds that the intention was to aid the homemakers' choice when buying milk. Hence, the visuals, which make it easier for consumers to buy the milk of their choice.
The brand introduced milk in the new package last month. Early figures indicate 15-20 per cent increase in sales after the change. The brand has also been distributing trial packs. The new packaging will help in revamping the imagery of the brand, which will go a long way, Sinha believes. It took Paras Dairy and Rediffusion four months to fine tune the package design.
While Paras Dairy has been in the market for over 50 year, it had been losing ground to competition. The Delhi market is highly cluttered with about 13 players in the market. "We felt there was a need to rejuvenate and restructure the brand. Also, milk is being replaced by colas and coffee and is losing prominence as a healthy drink. When you do restructuring, you need drama or enigma but also it should be meaningful to the consumers. So, we came up with the packaging idea, which was anchored in current industry practices," Sinha says.
As for recovering the packaging cost, Sinha says the brand intends to have a more efficient value-chain. The brand has also used the same package design on its trucks and signages, generating amazement among its factory employees.
While the Diet milk is priced at Rs 24, the Cream milk costs Rs 42; the other two variants occupy various price points in between.
Around 55 per cent of Paras' revenue in the Delhi market comes from the sale of full cream milk, while toned milk is the highest revenue generator in Mumbai. Sinha reasons that the difference in the consumption pattern in the two cities could be because buffalo milk, which is cream-rich, is widely consumed in the north, while cow milk, which contains less quantity of fat, is preferred in western India.
Paras Dairy enjoys 4 per cent market share in Delhi, while its presence in Mumbai is less than 1 per cent (the brand entered the city less than a year ago). However, the brand has witnessed significant success in Lucknow, where it has captured 6 per cent of the market in less than two years.
"We believe this is because of the breakthrough packaging and good customer service parameters. Our milk reaches the customer's doorstep before the competition," Sinha highlights.
As for brand's challenges, Sinha feels that anything that's successful will eventually get copied. "So, we need to be ready with the next step of innovative ideas. Milk has been a static business till now but there is a lot of scope and many ideas can be tried out that will fascinate the consumers," he says.
Paras Dairy was set up in 1960 by Ved Ram by procuring 60 litres of milk. The first unit of the dairy business was founded in 1987 under Ved Ram & Sons partnership. With a strong base in Delhi metro, the company has a collection network spread across 5000 villages in western UP, Haryana, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Gujarat.