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The Second wave is more grim as compared to the last year : R S Sodhi

Mr R S Sodhi MD GCMMF in a recent interview shared his experience with the market sentiments during ongoing second wave of Covid-19. During the first wave last year, the lock down came as an opportunity to spend time with family and near and dar ones. People began to experiment with their cooking skills. Every one was trying to act like a chef and sharing recipes and pictures of their creation on social media.

Last year, there was a lot of panic buying . Large number of players were unable to supply their products to the market as only large players were able to manage the supply chain. Consumption of healthy foods like cheese, paneer, butter and ghee was very high. UHT milk also showed an upsurge. Last year, demand for dairy products like ice creams, beverages , etc hit badly

Low buying power

The second wave of Covid-19 is more grim. There has not been a complete national lockdown like last year so shops are open for much longer hour. Normal supplies this time has led to the absence of panic buying . However the mood inside every household is serious. It is because either a family member or some near and dear one is facing corona pandemic. A large number of casualties have almost touched large number of household directly or indirectly.

Prescriptive or preventive medicine expenses has substantially impacted the buying power of common man to experiment with innovative or indulgent dairy and food products.The sales of liquid milk has not been impacted much. Icecream sales were normal till March rather showing 2-3x growth than the last year. Currently it has gone down sharply . UHT milk demand is still at 30-40% higher levels . Demand of Cheese, paneer, etc is maintained at the same levels that of the last year. Ghee is also stable at last year higher levels of 15-20%. Dairy beverages have again taken a hit and sales are very down considering summer to be the peak season for this range of product mix.

Manpower in supply chain is getting Corona

The supply chain and operations are getting affected more due to manpower in these areas getting affected by Corona. There is a huge manpower shortage . Last time operations in plants situated in rural area were least affected as the corona spread was negligible in rural areas. This time Corona has not spared the rural areas and therefore the operations in rural areas are having tough time. The shortage of manpower still is getting set off by slight decrease in demand. There has been a new trend of consumer buying smaller packs of dairy products instead of large packs bought last year.

As a social responsibility AMUL is supporting local administration by setting up large oxygen generating plants for the local hospitals. Amul has established around 8-10 new oxygen plants including those done at Banas and Anand. The technical team of Amul is also supporting other charity organisations and local administration for setting it up. The government of Gujarat is kind enough to allow Amul to use its donation funds for the same purpose.

Excerpts from Mr R S Sodhi’s interview to ET Now compiled by Kuldeep Sharma

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