Deepashree Banerjee

Amul calls out lack of butter in rival cookies...

And, let's not forget the list includes the biggies like Britannia, ITC, Parle etc...

The 41,000 crore dairy brand from Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation seems to be out, all guns blazing, taking sharp digs at its competition, i.e. Britannia, ITC, Parle etc.

The Anand-based dairy major that recently launched its butter cookies range has been taking jibes at other biscuit manufacturers for not offering 'real butter' in cookies. In a couple of rather cheeky Twitter posts on July 21, Amul claims that most butter cookies available in the market contain only 0.3 to 3 per cent butter and 20-22 per cent vegetable oil. On the other hand, Amul's cookies are made of 25 per cent butter and contain no vegetable oil.

What makes it even more interesting is how netizens are reacting to the post. Twitterati is firing constant shots by uploading screenshots of butter content of various brands belonging to other FMCG giants.

In a recent interview with Business Today, R S Sodhi, MD, Amul, was quoted as saying, "We realised that the butter cookies available in the market have only 2 per cent butter and 5 per cent dairy fat. Our butter cookies have 100 per cent butterfat; there is no vegetable fat. We got very good responses from Anand; then we started distributing to the rest of Gujarat. All our bakery products will only use butterfat and that is where our product differentiation will come from."

He goes on to reveal that primarily, the thought behind getting into categories such as bakery, was too boost the milk business. "The money that we get from the bakery business we invest in the milk business. The money goes back to the owners, who are the milk farmers," he stated.

Considered in the top 10 global dairy processors, Amul has also seen a steady growth in the juice category where it deliberately decided to add milk solids, unlike competitors from the sugary, carbonated drinks segment. The brand, with its extensive pan-India distribution, makes a conscious effort to use it as its USP in a bid to compete with other established players (Dabur's Real or PepsiCo's Tropicana) in the already-crowded market.

Experts talk:

Brand strategist and former adman MG Parameswaran (Ambi), founder of says that Amul is about increasing milk (and its by-products) consumption in the country so that dairy farmers can get a better price for their produce.

When the dairy major launched their ice cream, it was positioned as 'Real Milk. Real Ice Cream' and they took a strong stance against ice creams that contained vegetable fat instead of dairy milk.

Amul calls out lack of butter in rival cookies...

MG Parameswaran

Amul calls out lack of butter in rival cookies...

Lloyd Mathias

So, with the launch of their new cookies range, they are stimulating a conversation around real butter in 'Butter Cookies', he points out. "I don't think they are aiming their message at the lower-income groups since they are doing the campaign on social media. The idea, I think, is to stimulate a healthy conversation around the presence or absence of real butter in butter cookies. Finally, consumers will be the real judge and their judgment will be based on taste, price and availability. If Amul can disrupt the pricing game, as they did with their ice creams, they may be on to something big," he opines.

Lloyd Mathias, brand marketing expert (ex-HP, Motorola and PepsiCo) sees this as a great campaign that seeks to "own the category" of butter cookies. "Amul, being the market leader in butter, is leveraging its leadership to build an advantage in an altogether different category of cookies," he says.

Having said that, doesn't it seem to tap into a rather lower-middle-class insight of more grease = premium (Chai that is 'malai maar ke' is richer than regular chai) This is uniquely lower SEC desi insight.

Mathias doesn't think that having more butter is an insight for a lower socioeconomic segment. He explains, "Having real butter as an ingredient in cookies, instead of hydrogenated vegetable oil, is a big advantage and also a healthier option. So, Amul is targeting the 'better taste with real butter' need state - and may be playing to a higher socio-economic group. Remember, more butter in a cookie is a good thing in terms of taste."

He adds that ice-cream is another such category where a number of established players tend to highlight their usage of 100 per cent milk (Amul, Vadilal, Mother Diary) versus other frozen dessert players (Kwality Walls, Cream Bell).

He thinks the campaign is a great move to shift the goal-post in the cookie category to more natural ingredients like butter and may see a big shift among users. Further, he feels that getting consumer involvement on social media by incorporating a contest with pictures of other brands, hashtagging #aslibuttercookie, will put its competitors on the back foot.

"A competitive campaign designed to get noticed and highlight product superiority will pitchfork Amul as a serious contender in a crowded category," Mathias concludes.