In a strategic cost-cutting move, Tamil Nadu’s Aavin has said it will discontinue its widely popular “green packet” standardised milk that boasts of 4.5 percent fat content.
Effective 25 November, consumers will now receive the “Delite” variant in a purple pack, featuring a slightly lower fat content at 3.5 percent.
Aavin — a state government cooperative owned by the Tamil Nadu Cooperative Milk Producers Federation Limited under the Tamil Nadu Ministry of Cooperation — charges ₹22 for both the green and purple packets.
According to reports, the green variant holds a significant 40 percent market share in Chennai.
Aavin has a total of four packets — the blue one with a very little fat percentage that costs ₹20, the green packet with 4.5 percent fat that costs ₹22, the purple pack with 3.5 percent fat that also costs ₹22, and the full-cream orange pack that costs ₹30.
The announcement came as a disappointment for the general public and hoteliers, who relied on the green packet for its taste and thickness.
“This is not the first time Aavin announced it. At the Aavin stores, we were told that the green pack would be discontinued after Deepavali,” said Manorajan Velu, who runs a grocery store in Chennai.
The green pack is preferred by 95 percent of its customers. But Manoranjan said that the supply has been reduced.
“At the Aavin stores, even when I want to buy 100 of the green packs, I cannot. There has been a shortage of the supply of the green packets for a few months now,” Manoranjan said.
The green packet is also dear to the hoteliers who prefer it for making coffee and tea.
“Since the fat percentage is good, we can mix it with water. You cannot do that with the purple variant, which is already watery. The tea made with the purple variant doesn’t taste good,” said Harish Kumar, who owns a tea shop on East Coast Road in Chennai.
The decision has sparked reactions from prominent political figures, with Tamil Nadu BJP president K Annamalai vehemently condemning the move.
Annamalai accused the government of engaging in deceptive practices, asserting that the reduction in fat content posed a threat to the development of children reliant on Aavin’s milk.
He called for an immediate cessation of this alleged deception, urging the government to provide quality milk at its current price point.
“I urge the Tamil Nadu government to immediately stop deceiving the public by reducing the fat content of milk and not reducing the price. The public should be provided with quality milk,” Annamalai posted on X.
The orange-packet milk, which should have 6 percent fat content, has 4.79 percent fat content, according to a study conducted by a laboratory approved by the Food Safety and Standardisation Authority (FSSAI), Annamalai alleged.
தமிழக அரசின் ஆவின் பால் நிறுவனம், கடந்த நாற்பது ஆண்டுகளாகப் பயன்பாட்டில் இருக்கும் பச்சை நிற பாக்கெட் பால் விற்பனையை நிறுத்திக் கொள்ள முடிவெடுத்திருப்பது வன்மையாகக் கண்டிக்கத்தக்கது.
மொத்தமாக சென்னையில், சுமார் 14.75 லட்சம் லிட்டர் விற்பனையாகும் ஆவின் பாலில், 40% பங்குள்ள, 4.5%… pic.twitter.com/6fLzNIISCk
— K.Annamalai (@annamalai_k) November 20, 2023
PMK President Anbumani Ramadoss also expressed disapproval, deeming the decision detrimental to the welfare of the poor and middle-class citizens.
Fixing the same price for a 4.5 percent fat content pack and a 3.5 percent pack was unfair, he said in a statement, adding that this opened up the possibility of customers to opt for milk from private dealers.
He also questioned Aavin’s claim of providing nutrient-rich milk, and suggested that if such a variety was to be introduced, it should coexist with the existing options.
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Meanwhile, the DMK government in Tamil Nadu responded to Annamalai’s post by condemning him for spreading “misinformation”.
In reply to the Tamil Nadu BJP chief’s post, Minister for Milk & Dairy Development Mano Thangaraj said: “Addressing your recent tweet on Aavin Milk’s fat content, we are dismayed by the deliberate spread of misinformation. [sic]”
He noted: “The referenced test report fails to specify it pertains to Aavin Milk.”
The minister went on to add: “We’re deeply concerned your statements may mislead and create unnecessary doubt.”
He also said: “We suspect these actions for personal gain, possibly seeking benefits from companies outside our state, at the expense of our farmers – a disgraceful move. [sic]”
Addressing your recent tweet on Aavin Milk's fat content, we are dismayed by the deliberate spread of misinformation. The referenced test report fails to specify it pertains to Aavin Milk. Aavin exclusively packages in packets, not PET containers as… https://t.co/N4Z62BhkTI
— Mano Thangaraj (@Manothangaraj) November 20, 2023