Parag Milk Foods ties with Rochland of Germany to launch cheese in India

Gowardhan brand liquid milk producer Parag Milk Foods Ltd has tied up with Germany based cheese marker Hochland SE for launching one of the largest European cheese brands "Almette" in India.

Introduced under a joint brand name "Go Almette", is a cream cheese produced in Germany made with pasteurized cow's milk and is all natural with no preservatives, emulsifiers, thickeners, artificial colours or flavours. "Go Almette" cream is light, natural and fluffy, providing consumers an option to use it as a good food ingredient.

Parag Milk currently produces cheese under "Go" brand with a sizeable market share in the Rs $195 million cheese market in India. But, "Go Almette" brand has no competition in India as such products are not available. Parag Milk is planning to import "Go Almette" from Germany currently with future aim to set up a manufacturing plant in India.

"This launch is an attempt to continue our expansion in cheese market with a unique imported product. With this, we are broadening our portfolio of consumer health and nutrition based products," said Devendra Shah, Chairman, Parag Milk.

The company has launched two variants of cheese i.e. original and fine herbs; and in the process to launch more variants in near futures.

With European markets saturating, we were looking for expansion in the markets like India which is already a market leader in milk production. With strong distribution network, our partnership will go a long way," said Johannes Rogg, Division Manager (New Business Development), Hochland.

Under this co-branding arrangement, "Go Almette" is currently being produced by Hochland in Germany and Parag will be importing and marketing it. With a premium over existing cheese brands, Go Almette is available at Rs 150 per unit of 150 grams pack.

Parag will be focusing initially in metro and major cities to "taste the water" and will expand in other parts of the country later.

Interestingly, with two production facilities Hochland currently exist in Russian market where Parag is looking for its entry. Both partners may extend their partnership for Russian market as well.

"While we have not gone taken our engagements with Rochland beyond Go Almette, but we are sure that we are not going to compete in any market including Russia," said Shah. Parag posted annual sales of Rs 1440 crore, Rochland reported total turnover of euro 1.3 billion in 2014.

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