RS Sodhi, who stepped down as managing director of Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF), known by its brand Amul, on January 9, joined the company as a senior sales officer in 1982 and was associated with it for more than 40 years.
Here are the five major events that occurred during Sodhi’s tenure as managing director:
1. Impressive growth in sales
GCMMF’s turnover was Rs 9,774.27 crore in FY11, when Sodhi was appointed the MD, according to data presented at the cooperative's annual general meetings. Since then, turnover has grown almost fivefold to Rs 46,481 crore in FY22.
The overall turnover of GCMMF and its constituent member unions, including sales of Amul-branded products, reached Rs 61,000 crore in FY22.
2. Increased milk procurement
The cooperative’s milk procurement grew almost three times in the past 12 years. The rise is credited to the increase in prices paid by GCMMF to farmers for milk, which more than doubled during this period.
According to the federation, as much as 80 percent of the amount paid by their consumers goes to the farmers. The federation has 3.64 million milk- producing members and 18,600 village societies.
3. Enhanced distribution network
In 2010, GCMMF had 30 "super distributors" across eight states, covering 520 small towns. By 2022, this network had grown to cover 4,900 towns and thousands of other smaller markets through direct wholesale distributors, as well "super distributors" with their own sub-distribution networks.
4. Not buttery enough
When markets across several parts of India reported a shortage of butter last year, company officials, including Sodhi, cited a shortage of fat due to issues in milk procurement as the reason for the scarcity.
Procurement was hit mainly by the spread of lumpy disease in cattle in several states as well as a shortage of fodder. The scarcity of butter was felt by consumers during the festival season.
5. Legal tussle with HUL
In 2017, Amul put out an ad campaign asking viewers to choose its ice-cream made from milk fat rather than frozen desserts made from vanaspati oil.
Hindustan Unilever, which owns the Kwality Wall’s brand, approached the Bombay High Court, asking for the Amul ads to be stopped. Hindustan Unilever claimed that Kwality Wall’s, which is the largest frozen dessert brand in India, was impacted by the Amul ad.
The court subsequently granted Hindustan Unilever’s plea for an injunction. Upon Amul’s appeal, a division bench of the court held that the ad could be aired after the removal of objectionable content.