How this 100-year-old Legacy Brand Was Revived by these New-age Entrepreneurs "The dairy as a sector is booming in India and abroad. We wanted to do a business, which had the ability to scale globally."

By Komal Nathani

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Some of the conventional businesses in India that were somehow pulling off till a few years ago are now going all out to break their stagnation and grow. India's traditional dairy business can be cited as a perfect example.

Eighty per cent of the INR 5000-billion dairy industry in India is unorganized and it is now pulling up its socks to scale up in the niche business space.

New-age entrepreneurs are revamping their old business models, adding creative innovations to this legacy business to tap unexplored avenues in the sector.

Keventers, a 100-year-old resurrected brand, has overcome too many stumbling blocks to become one of the leading dairy brands in India.

"The dairy as a sector is booming in India and abroad. We wanted to do a business, which had the ability to scale globally," said Sohrab Sitaram, Chief Executive Officer and Director of Keventers.

Trying their hands to bring out something new, a young group of entrepreneurs -- Agastya Dalmia, Sohrab Sitaram, and Aman Arora -- hit on the idea of selling flavored milkshakes, packaged in petite, glass bottles.

"There were very few companies specializing only in milkshakes when we started," Sitaram told the Entrepreneur India.

Starting operations from a single outlet in the heart of India, Keventers is now aiming to hit global markets across the world.

The company's growth escalated when renowned industrialist Ram Krishna Dalmia acquired the brand, which was first introduced by a Swedish dairy technologist Edward Keventer in 1925 in India. Since then, the brand is scaling new heights with mushrooming outlets, enjoying its pan India presence.

The trio came up with unique marketing measures to connect with masses and make the brand alive in the market again. Their experience in the dairy business was an added advantage in achieving desired results.

'No Kid on the Block'

"There is currently no one in the milkshake space," said Sitaram.

"The milkshake industry had always played second fiddle either to a restaurant or a Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) chain. We have changed that scenario and created milkshakes as the primary business and the USP. This has served as a game changer since no one in the industry has ever done this before us," said Dalmia.

"This has instilled a sense of confidence in the market that a business purely based on milkshakes does have the potential to generate profits and survive," he asserted.

The brand is looking forward to step into ice cream and flavoured milk segments as well in the next few months.

Hitting Global Markets

The company already has its presence in Nepal and will soon be expanding in other countries like Kenya, Dubai, Sri Lanka, and Maldives over the next two months. Infrastructural procedures are underway.

Sitaram said, "We are identifying properties and creating business strategies to enter the American and European soil."

The company is currently focusing on North America, GCC countries (UAE, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait) and Asia (China, Singapore, Malaysia, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Thailand), he added.

It is trying too hard to appeal to different demographics in an engaging style, he said.

Creating quality milkshakes, using the best ingredients available, is the company's business strategy, Sitaram said, adding, "We are also focussing on ensuring standardizations and quality. We are investing in R&D and creating a culture cell to stay two steps ahead of the competition."

Can a Business Based on a Single Product do Well?

"Industry players have overcome their doubts and initial fears of doing business cashing in on a single product. The trend set will see a lot of small-time players coming up with some unique flavours in the milkshake business along with a host of established players strategizing a similar business to get a share of the pie," said Sitaram.

"A product, which was non-existent in the market amid the dominance of juices, has now built an irrevocable trust with consumers," he added.

A Business Strategy that Works Instantly!

The brand got popular with the Gen X, but not the Gen Y. "In order to succeed, we had to focus on the Gen Y as our target audience and make the Keventers milkshake a preferred beverage option. Initially, it was a challenge as not many were aware of the brand," said Sitaram.

Journey Has Not Been Easy in Dairy Space

"It was a test of patience, perseverance and hard work to reach the juncture where we are now," he said. The challenges were tough, Sitaram said, adding, "Finding good quality milk was one of our biggest issues. We looked in every nook and corner of India and abroad to understand the current fat content of the milk and ice-creams, before finally choosing the kind we would use for our milkshakes."

Komal Nathani

Former Correspondent, Entrepreneur Asia Pacific

A firm believer of hard work and patience. Love to cover stories that hold a potential to change the momentum of business world. Currently, a part of all-women web team of Entrepreneur’s Asia Pacific edition to jig the wheel of business journalism!

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