The Indian milk industry has developed significantly in recent years to move from being import-dependent to self-sufficient.

It is vital, however, that the industry continues to embrace technological advances and increase its aseptic pack production, warned Didier Maillard, vice-president (Finance) of Tetra Pak, if it is to survive in the competitive environment of the new millennium.

Furthermore, says a report in the Economic Times, "the way our not-so-friendly neighbour has been growing […] India may have to import aseptic paper-based packaged milk from Pakistan in the near future".

Aseptic packaging technology can retain the nutritive value of packaged products and extend their un-refrigerated shelf life, said Maillard. The process involves transferring UHT (ultra high temperature) treated milk or fruit based beverages into pre-sterilised packages in a sterile environment.

Another necessary industry development, said Maillard, is a movement from generic products to strong brands with value-added differentiation, including UHT milk, cheese, ice creams and spreads.