July 31, 2018
India’s Dairy giant Amul is going to lure its sweet toothed with its latest product – camel milk chocolate. It hopes that the unfamiliar confection will catch on, allowing strict Hindus and Sikhs who avoid cow milk, and those allergic to dairy products, to enjoy chocolate.Amul also targets to upgrade the declining camel-herding industry from desert states such as Gujarat and Rajasthan.
Many manufacturers hope that with India having one of the fastest growing chocolate markets on earth – it consumed 228,000 tonnes in 2016- the salty-sweet camel variety may prove a hit.
In fact last year during Diwali, Amul launched its first product made from the bars of camel milk chocolate, sold near camel fairs and online.
Camel milk is saltier and Amul has turned the milk into milk powder and adapted the chocolate recipe to fit commercial tastes. The flavour is more minerally, but people have loved the idea. In Gujarat, more than 10,000 camels are already part of the scheme, with the NGO Sahjeevan organizing milk deposits. In fact there is a sense of optimism and hope. The herders’ children, who would have taken up jobs as truck drivers, goat herders or farmers, are taking up camel rearing for now.
It developed a semi-cult status – especially as camel milk has been promoted as an alternative dairy product in the west in the past few years also – and ended up on the shelves of a few big city stores too. But now the hope is that a mass market is lying in wait.Last time, the milk had come from camels in Gujarat’s Bhuj region as herders from the Rabari tribe worked with the Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF).
The tribe survives on camel milk but considers selling it a forbidden and now Amul’s move is to help make an alternative income for the tribe, which has been herding camels for centuries.