Monday, February 15, 2016

When Ancient meets Modern...

Baba Ramdev's Patanjali products have taken the consumer goods world by a storm over the past 24 months. While the herbal and ayurvedic brand has been around for a long time, Baba Ramdev gained massive popularity while joining protest meets held by Anna Hazare over corruption issues. He later dilly-dallied with Aam Aadmi Party and later found support from none other than the BJP which went on to form the Government at the Centre in 2014. Ever since, Baba Ramdev has been among the most searched figures in the internet, not to mention his Yoga classes and ayurvedic products. He has been, by the way imparting yoga techniques for decades and his programmes on yoga are a super hit on hindu spiritual channels in India such as Aastha Tv.


Patanjali, is a name which also belongs to the founder of Yoga and hence the correlation with consumer goods brand. At the moment, Patanjali has over 400 items across Grocery, Personal Care including skin care, dental care, herbal products, washing powder, soaps and detergents, pure Cow's Ghee, Honey and many more. These products are manufactured at a state of the art factory in Himachal Pradesh, located in the North of India with access to the Himalayas. The Brand has had its share of controversies with Baba Ramdev himself being the centre of attraction (or distraction) in various events. A section of Imams of the Muslim Community asked followers of Islam not to use these products since some of them included Cow's urine, which is considered in Hinduism as a disinfectant. It is another matter completely that there are hundreds of muslims who work at the Patanjali's massive factory spread over hundreds of acres in Himachal. With the fall-out of Maggi Noodles (a Nestle product), Patanjali wowed people with their Atta Noodles, considered a healthier option and launched them in Jan. 2016 ever since it's been a super hit. 


Patanjali has been giving tough competition to national and international brands such as Colgate, Nestle, P&G and many others. On the Sales & Distribution front, they follow a similar model such as the good old days of FMCG. The products are sent from the factory to a Super stockist in each Metro who in turn passes it on to Distributors who then pass on to Retail Stores. The entire Supply Chain seems to be working quite flawlessly at the moment. The demand-supply ratio is currently pegged at 1:4 as per market estimates, i.e., there is one unit available for every four people who are looking forward to buy it. This is massive. In Indian history of consumer products, Bajaj Motors has the notoriety for having made people to book a scooter and wait for several years for delivery. Patanjali is in the same vein. People of all ages and segments of the society have been embracing them.


Patanjali recently tied up with the largest retailer in the country, The Future Group and the products have been available on the shelves of Food Bazaar which is the Hypermarket chain of the company as well as in other smaller retail formats such as Nilgiris, KB's Fair Price, to name a few. This approach of taking ancient medicine to modern retail has been an interesting move by the brand which now rubs shoulders with other well established brands such as Surf, Lakme, ITC, Nestle, etc. It is imminent that no brand, irrespective of their origin or utility cannot neglect Organized Retail which was less than 5% of the market a decade back and is now at over 10% of the USD 600 billion market and growing at 20% CAGR. Patanjali is sure to make a dent in the market share of the biggies and news articles have appeared in international magazines that MNCs are already fretting over this issue.


The brand's popularity is largely due to the power of Ayurveda, the way it has been positioned in the minds of the consumers and the Brand Ambassador which is Baba Ramdev himself, who is seen and aspired as one of the fittest Indians. It wouldn't be surprising of the brand attracts significant Private Equity and grows in scale in times to come. Watch this space.


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