Quintessential milk company for over 125 years

Brand fatigue would little affect this heritage brand, founded by Swedish dairy technologist Edward Keventer, to modernise Indian dairy industry

Quintessential milk company for over 125 years
Quintessential milk company for over 125 years

For the 125+ year old heritage brand Keventer, ‘brand fatigue’ seems to be all but a marketing parlance as it sets out on a more vibrant and more aggressive path. Founded by Edward Keventer, a Swedish, who was recruited by the then British government in 1890 to modernise the Dairy industry in India and taken over by the MKJ Group in 1986, Keventer seems well set to become one of the largest food companies born out of eastern India.

“The brand has evolved over the last 125 years to what it is today. The brand fatigue does not necessarily happen with the age. These are not relevant as long as consumers keep consuming the products. Going forward, we would like to emerge as a brand, that is ‘best in class’. We would like to emerge the way it started – a quintessential milk company. Our brand philosophy is bringing smile to every consumer. And our organisational philosophy is bringing smile to every employee. If you look at our new logo, you will get a sense of our brand and organisational philosophy,” said Mayank Jalan, chairman and managing director of Keventer Agro Ltd.

Keventer Agro Limited, the food processing business of Keventer Group, is one of the fastest growing food company in eastern India with presence across categories like dairy, bananas, frozen foods, export of food commodities, franchisee for beverages and franchisee for hospitality brands. Keventer Agro Limited had acquired the rights of Edward Keventer’s operations and now aims to take the legacy of over 125 years in food & dairy to new heights, while remaining committed to Edward Keventer's philosophy and beliefs. 

“We are looking at exponential growth over the next 5 years. Our plan is to roll out at least 30-35 new products under our brand- mostly in health & wellness, nutrition segment. Our prime focus will be dairy segment. Atleast till 2022, our thrust will be dairy business-both under Metro brand and at the same rolling out new products under Keventer brand. There are enough opportunities in this sector and there are enough opportunities in eastern India. And therefore till 2022, we will focuss on eastern India,” said Jalan.


Interestingly, in 1996, Keventer Agro had entered the dairy business as one of the 3 partners in India's first joint sector dairy project – Metro Dairy, funded by the World Bank under the Operation Flood Phase III programme. Now, Metro Dairy is a 100 per cent owned subsidiary of Keventer Agro and “Metro” is one of the top 3 dairy brands in Kolkata. The company forayed into the beverages business by becoming a franchisee of Parle Agro – the brand owners of Frooti and Appy – in 1987, and at present, it is one of the largest franchisees of the company in the country.

Quite like its founder Edward Keventer, who got impatient with the bureaucracy of the time and his innovations took on an entrepreneurial zeal, exploring uncharted territories, unfamiliar breeds of livestock, alien practices and extremes of climate, single-mindedly researching, experimenting, inventing and innovating, the present generation management of Keventer also opted for a somewhat challenging path, laying utmost path of research, innovation, experimentation.

“For us, even middleman has a role to play in the type of business we are in. We have therefore ungraded and upskilled the middlemen into efficient agropreneurs. And now environmental concerns are top of my agenda for the next three to three and a half year. We will soon come up with many innovative things on this front,” said Jalan.

At present nearly 35 per cent of its revenue comes from other brands while 65 per cent comes from its own brands. The present export volume stands at Rs 200 crore per annum. Keventer, at present, is working on to move up on the value chain. It will increasingly get into organic products. Moves are afoot to emerge as the largest exporter of organic food products from India by 2025. It exports its products to the US, Europe, Middle East, Asia. In the years to come, there will be incasing focus on the US, Europe and Middle East, said Jalan, adding that the company is also making significant investments in putting up infrastructure, R&D lab, cold chains and so on.

Expansions are on the cards on hospitality (mostly QSR space) segment as well. The company got into hospitality segment, putting up Coffee World, Coffee World Restaurant, Cream & Fudge Restaurant, Pizzikone and Panda Junction. At present, it has 28 outlets and plans to add 3-4 outlets every year.