Established more than 50 years ago, Anando manufactures premium flavoured milk products in Mumbai. Anando means “Give Happiness”. Its first store was at Nariman point way before the Oberoi Hotel, now Trident was constructed.
Devang Thakkar, Founder of Anando, says, “We are currently located at Girgaum Chowpatty in Mumbai. We are the third generation in the family business now. We have created a niche for ourselves in the Mumbai market. We have consumers, who come to our stores and tell us that this is the fourth generation of their family consuming our products. They appreciate that the taste of the products has remained unchanged since so many years.”
In an interview with Restaurant India, Founder of Anando, Devang Thakkar speaks how collaborating with HoReCa segment is a win-win situation for both.
How Anando’s concept is different from other Industry players?
We believe that you not only drink our products but also eat with every sip. For example, our special masala milk is rich with dry fruits and with every sip, you will get a lot of crunchy nuts to chew on. Our tropical coconut milk is a cooling combination of milk and kopra; with every sip, you also get a twist of coconut malai to eat. We have many such products. We try to add value to the flavoured milk by adding nuts and actual fruit pieces. We also make sure to not use artificial flavours.
By far, which product is people’s favourite or top-selling? What is your favourite of the Anando Milk products?
We are also known for Chowpattywala Masala Milk. Our Masala Milk is one of the most-loved products. When consumers come to our store and tell us “give us two bottles of Anando” we know they are talking about our Special Masala Milk.
We also try to come up with new flavours every couple of months like Pan Kolkatawala and Nutty Choco Hazelnut, etc. People have also started loving our Sinful Sitafal which has actual sitafal pieces and Tropical Coconut Milk.
My favourite is the Tango with Mango Milk. I remember when I was in school and my dad used to take me to the Chowpatty shop, I used to drink two bottles at a go. Till today, Tango with Mango is my most favourite.
Where do you source your ingredients from? Are they local or imported?
We use a lot of products like Almond, Pistachio, Saffron, Hazelnuts, etc, which are imported. We do not import them directly, but we have a team of vendors who have been supporting us for many years.
What were the challenges you’ve faced while sourcing your products? How do you overcome?
We cannot control the prices of raw materials like Almonds, Saffron, etc. as they are market-driven. Last year, we had seen a steep fall in the Indian Rupee vis-à-vis US $. When this happens our raw material prices increase. Our vendors share the market information with us periodically, which helps us plan our procurement.
Also, we use a lot of seasonal products like Sitafal, etc. We give a minimum annual guarantee for seasonal products to our vendors. Hence, working closely with our vendors helps us overcome our sourcing challenges.
Your contribution to the HoReCa segment? Who are your partners or customers?
Our products go well with Hotels and Restaurant segment of the Food and Beverage Industry. We have been supplying to Hotel Mirage, Andheri East in Mumbai since a couple of years. They have included our products on the breakfast buffet for their Hotel guests. We specialize in the flavoured milk category and our products are popular in Mumbai. It saves them the hassle of preparing flavoured milk which is a small part of their entire breakfast layout. At the same time, the Hotel guests are happy as they get quality and branded products in their breakfast buffet.
We have tie-ups with a number of Restaurants in Mumbai like Arya Bhavan – Matunga, Hotel Saroj - Chembur. We do a revenue sharing model with them. All they need to do is to have our visi-cooler in their restaurants.
Today, people have become health conscious and they are looking for non-aerated drink options. Having us at their restaurants gives them an added source of revenue which helps them meet their ever-growing expense overheads and, thereby, increasing profit from their core business operations.
What are your expansion plans with Anando? How do you see the tier I and tier II cities?
Presently, our products are available only in Mumbai. We plan to penetrate Mumbai further and are looking to take our products to cities close to Mumbai like Pune or Ahmedabad. If you see Ahmedabad the food scene there has exploded. They have dedicated food truck parks in the city where people can go with their families for recreation and food. You will find all major food brands in these cities as the demographics of the population is young and people have the purchasing power and appetite to try new things.
Key marketing strategies to reach out to target consumers?
We are continuously using a mix of different strategies to reach out to our consumers. We are trying to extend our reach to different micro areas with Mumbai. We feel that our products like Masala Milk and Thandai are traditional and at the same time compliment festivals like Ganesh Chaturthi, Diwali, Holi, etc. We run offers during the festivals. This helps us to be a part of our customers' festive celebrations and happiness. We also use the social media platform to engage our consumers. We also take part in a lot of events like Dandiya, Flea Markets, etc which help us get first-hand feedback from our existing consumers and build relationships with new consumers.