NEW DELHI: Many FMCG brands have been rattled by the expansion of Patanjali into their territory but the head of Dabur has welcomed its presence as increasing awareness of the ayurvedic category.
Sunil Duggal, chief executive officer at Dabur India, acknowledged that Patanjali, founded by yoga guru Baba Ramdev, "will cause most companies some stress" but added that this would only be short term – "maybe over the next two or three quarters" – and that its impact had in any case been exaggerated by a lack of growth in the market.
"Patanjali has triggered a fairly high awareness for ayurvedic products," he noted, adding that would only benefit Dabur over the long term.
"We plan to leverage our ayurvedic heritage and also stress on the fact that our ayurveda is based on science and validation, and not just on faith," he said in an apparent reference to the guru and his followers.
Baba Ramdev himself has urged people to "shun products from abroad" and to "look inward to traditional Indian practices".
And earlier this week, Acharya Balkrishan, the managing director of Patanjali Ayurved, responded to complaints about the company's advertising by claiming these came from multinational rivals.
"All these years they destroyed our culture through different types of advertisements," he said. "They are complainant and are also the judge.
"After years' long advertisements against use of charcoal and salt in toothpaste, now they are telling our people how these ingredients are good for health."
Colgate has more than half the market for toothpaste in India but has been sufficiently concerned by the advance of Patanjali to launch a new herbal product, Cibaca Vedshakti, aimed at the ayurvedic segment.
Other international businesses, including Hindustan Unilever and L'Oréal, have also developed ayurvedic products
Dabur, already well-established in this market, plans on expansion via acquisition. "Rather than buying a Rs 300-400 crore brand, our interest is in a Rs 50 crore brand that can be grown to Rs 200 crore," Diggal explained.
Data sourced from Afaqs!, Times of India, The Hindu, Economic Times; additional content by Warc staff