Pearl Dairy Farms Ltd, the makers of Lato Milk, added five more flavours to their yoghurt, days after announcing it’s expanding to more countries across the continent in a move to offer consumers with a total of seven varieties to choose from.
The new yoghurt flavours, which include apricot, peach, butterscotch, coconut and plain were officially launched by the State Minister of Finance for Investment and Privatization Evelyn Anite on Saturday at the company’s premises in Mbarara town.
Anite applauded Pearl Diary for the quality of their products.
"Yoghurt is very healthy for children and adults. It has good bacteria that keep our bodies strong and resistant to diseases. I have tested the new flavours and can testify they are very sweet and of high international quality. I urge Ugandans to buy Lato products, let us support our own local products," she said.
The Minister further applauded the company for creating over 10,000 jobs for Ugandans and putting Uganda on the world map through exporting high-quality products. She promised, through government, to continue supporting the investor through access to affordable credit, providing reliable and affordable electricity and access to the local and regional market.
"I have been informed by the owners of Pearl Dairy that they want affordable credit for expansion, reliable electrify and access to the market. Some of our regional markets, especially Kenya got issues last year but we are working hard to resolve those issues. I have also asked them to put in a request to the Uganda Development Bank for the credit they need. We will also continue to provide reliable electricity at affordable rates like we have been doing for all our investors," she said.
The Pearl Diary Chairman Bhasker Kotecha in his remarks said the company started producing Yoghurt six months back but because there was no market, they started with only two flavours of Vanilla and strawberry and are now adding more five flavours to give their consumers more choices.
Kotecha further added that due to limited access to the Kenyan market towards the end of 2019, and the Covid-19 pandemic that broke out in Uganda in March, the company has largely slashed the amount of milk it buys from farmers which has largely affected farmers who have a lot of milk but don't have market for it.
"In 2019, Pearl Diary paid Shs136b to farmers, this year, we have only paid Shs 32b as of September. This largely affects the farmers who have a lot of milk but have nowhere to sell it. As we also look to expand our markets to other countries, we ask government to work on the market access issues with in the EAC region because that is where our biggest market is," he said.
Commenting on the new products, Devendra Seth, the Managing Director of Pearl Dairy said the additional products reaffirm the company's commitment to meet the changing needs of their customers and continuous effort to be innovative.
He said, ‘We have seen and appreciated how much our customers love the two yoghurt flavours we have had on the market to date. However, we recently conducted research and found that they want greater variety to choose from and that is what we are providing, with these five new flavours.”
The new flavours will be added to the Vanilla and strawberry flavours and will be available in 400 gram and 200gram pouches and 500gram, 250gram, 150 gram and 100-gram cup sizes.
Seth said, “Our continuous commitment to excellence is what drives our offerings to meet the ever-evolving needs of the market. With the use of modern milk processing techniques, we offer high quality and innovative solutions through value-addition for our various products. Launching these additional flavours is another big step toward achieving our goals.”
He said research and development for the new flavours first started two years ago in New Zealand. New Zealand is a world leader in dairy processing. Seth said after carefully monitoring and testing a variety of recipes with technical assistance from a highly qualified consultant, the new flavours were put into production.
About expansion, the company says it has already secured all the necessary regulatory approvals from the targeted countries. In the initial phase, the company will export yoghurt and milk powder.
The company is expanding to Malawi and Ethiopia and it will be heading to South Sudan after.