Indian protein boost: Parag Milk Foods’ Avvatar aims to fill protein gap and tackle adulteration

By Hui Ling Dang

- Last updated on GMT

Parag Milk Foods aims to redefine the whey protein landscape in India through Avvatar. ©Parag Milk Foods
Parag Milk Foods aims to redefine the whey protein landscape in India through Avvatar. ©Parag Milk Foods

Related tags India Whey protein Protein Adulteration active nutrition

Indian company Parag Milk Foods is focused on addressing “critical needs” of local consumers, who face a high prevalence of protein deficiency and what it believes is high levels of product adulteration, through its whey protein brand Avvatar.

Avvatar was launched with a vision to redefine the whey protein landscape in the country, and for Parag Milk Foods to become a leading FMCG company providing innovative solutions across the health and nutrition spectrum.

According to Akshali Shah, Executive Director at Parag Milk Foods, approximately 73% to 80% of the Indian population fall short of their required protein intake, underscoring the magnitude of “accessible and reliable sources” of high-quality whey protein.

“We observed significant unmet needs, particularly in addressing protein deficiency, in the domestic market. Avvatar was conceived to tackle the escalating demand for premium whey protein, and changing consumer preferences in the health and fitness sector. Our goal is to assist Indians in meeting their daily protein requirements while ensuring the highest quality standards,” ​Shah told NutraIngredients-Asia​.

In particular, the firm sees opportunities in India’s sports and active nutrition sector, whereby the estimated market size of whey protein ingredients in the organised segment is about INR1000 to 1200cr (USD120m to 144m).

Traditionally, the extraction of whey protein relied on rennet, an enzyme obtained from the stomach lining of animals. However, Avvatar is dedicated to being a 100% vegetarian whey protein brand. This is pivotal in catering to the preferences of Indian consumers, a significant portion of whom adhere to vegetarian dietary practices.

“Our whey protein is derived from pure milk formulations, employing microbial enzymes in milk instead of non-vegetarian rennet. Unlike other companies that import their raw whey protein, resulting in ingredients that are untraceable and potentially containing non-vegetarian components, Avvatar ensures a transparent and counterfeit-proof process from raw materials to manufacturing and final packaging.”

It is estimated that approximately 30 to 40% of the Indian population follow a vegetarian diet.

A reliable choice

With up to 80% of whey protein products in the market said to be adulterated, there is a pressing need to offer a trustworthy option.

“While many brands claim to offer vegetarian whey protein, the question of authenticity arises due to sourcing practices. Most of them source their raw whey protein from multiple countries where non-vegetarian rennet is commonly used during the segregation process of cheese and whey liquid. This lack of traceability raises doubts about the true vegetarian status of whey protein brands in India.

“Our manufacturing plant in India operates on cutting-edge technology from the US and Europe. Every step of the manufacturing process is handled in-house to eliminate any chances of adulteration and maintain the purity of our protein powder,” ​Shah said.

Apart from a transparent and traceable supply chain, each container comes with a unique QR code authentication, which allows consumers to easily verify the legitimacy and purity of the product.

In addition, Avvatar’s whey protein has also received certifications from both local and internationally recognised organisations, including Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), Informed Choice, Trustified, and SGS.

“Our products are crafted with flavours such as Malai Kulfi to satisfy the Indian taste buds. They are not just about quality, but also represent a lifestyle choice.Furthermore, our products are available within just 24 hours after processing, ensuring that consumers receive the freshest and most nutritious whey protein.”

Prioritising domestic market

Besides Avvatar, Parag Milk Foods houses brands such as Gowardhan, Go, and Pride of Cows.

Currently, exports contribute approximately 1% to 3% to the company’s total revenue, with Gowardhan and Go being the primary brands sold abroad. Its export markets consist of 20 countries across Asia and the Middle East.

“Given that a large portion of the Indian population faces protein deficiency, we prioritise meeting domestic demand for our products. In the B2B segment, we supply to companies operating in sectors such as baby food, confectionery and pharmaceuticals, catering to diverse consumer needs within India.

“While our primary focus remains on serving the domestic market, we recognise the potential for overseas expansion and will explore opportunities to grow our presence globally in the coming years,” ​Shah added.  

Active lifestyle nutrition and protein trends will be key topics of focus at Growth Asia Summit 2024 – join us in Singapore to learn about market opportunities and glean insights from major industry experts. Find out more here

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