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I scream...
The 1980s kids would remember licking through their favourite Arun ice cream bars. With the first Arun ice cream parlour launched in 1978, the company was the first to start marketing ice cream through separate outlets.

This innovative thrust head started to the Hatsun Foods Private Ltd in 1986, which was later made public in 1996 and became Hatsun Agro Products Ltd in1998. R G Chandramogan (RGC), Chairman and Managing Director set up this enterprise which has registered a profit after tax of Rs 39.16 crore as on 31 March 2015.

In four decades from inception, Hatsun has positioned itself as India’s largest private sector dairy company. The company deals with over three lakh farmers in 8500 villages and Hatsun handles around 25 lakh litres of milk a day in Tamil Nadu.

Even when agricultural commodities suffer wide price fluctuations, dairy industry maintains comparatively stable prices. “Tamil Nadu is highly urbanised with minimal land left for agriculture. This poses a huge challenge. With land prices shooting up and with the trend to move towards cities, agriculture faces several challenges,” said RGC.

Hatsun has been recording a steady growth. Apart from the strong network of farmers, Hatsun’s on-ground team constitutes of 45 veterinary doctors and 275 artificial inseminators. “We take utmost care of the animals. Annually two lakh calves are born and of those one lakh is female. We annually do around six lakh artificial inseminations,” said RGC.

With a transparent back-end system, milk is procured daily from the farmers and the payments are made 100 per cent through banks.

Hatsun has state-of-the-art processing and packaging plants in Salem, Kancheepuram, Madurai, Palacode and Thalaivasal in Tamil Nadu; Honnali and Belgaum in Karnataka. Liquid milk and curd constitute 72 per cent, ice cream 8 per cent, ghee and fat 10 per cent and milk powder 10 per cent of the company’s revenues that were at Rs 2939 crore for 2014-15. The company opened a flavoured milk plant of 30,000 litres per day capacity.

With Amul, Karnataka Milk Federation and Mother Dairy in the first three positions, Hatsun is the fourth leading company in the dairy industry. “We will look for expansion in other states. We procure from Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra; in the next three years we will be focussing on consolidation. Later we will look at the option of going abroad,” said RGC.

The company has set up well-established linkages of cold chain networks from procurement to sales. With direct employment of 7500 and indirect of 30,000, the company exports dairy ingredients to 38 countries in the American, Middle Eastern and South East Asian markets.

Dairy is a capital-intensive industry. “For any company in this industry scale needs to come along with branding. People who focus on these two will grow and expand. An initial mover advantage is needed and we are fortunate to have this. We came with a background of ice cream, we know marketing, we know distribution and we know perishables,” pointed out RGC.

Arun ice creams and Arokya Milk, products of this company are India’s largest private sector milk brands. Arun ice creams is the largest selling ice cream in South India and was also the winner of the best ice cream in the country award in The Great Indian Ice Cream Contest 2008 and  2009 (National Level).

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