Game of Herbs

Homegrown FMCG brands and MNCs are hitching their wagon to the herbal trend

"Kya aapke toothpaste mein neem aur namak hai?” asked the fierce news reporter in disguise, Priyanka Chopra as she jumps from the skies, literally, onto a road-side dhaba where she diagnosed her unsuspecting target with Pyorrhea within seconds. While we are all quite familiar with the hilarious ad campaign run by Colgate since 2011, times have actually changed where consumers can now be seen asking each other over supermarket aisles if their shampoo or facewash or even insecticide has neem or some other natural ingredient. Call it herbal, organic or ayurvedic — the demand for natural ingredient-based products is a reality that some FMCG brands are waking up to, and some are steadfastly putting in place products to cater to this demand.

While homegrown brands such as Dabur, Emami, Marico and Himalaya Herbals are known to be entrenched in the arena, there are brands that traditionally didn’t have much to offer in this segment, but are now making a run for it. And each one is deploying a different method to capture a chunk of this evolving sub-category in the consumer products segment. For instance, Godrej Consumer Products (GCPL) is adding new product variants to its existing strong brands. GCPL launched a neem-based variant to its popular home insecticide brand Good Knight and the Advanced Neem Low Smoke Coil was launched across the country in the last week of July this year. Sunil Kataria, business head, India and SAARC, GCPL, explains the company’s move towards neem, “Naturals, as a trend, has always existed in India. Natural remedies such as burning neem leaves is a method deployed even today in villages. Today’s consumers are looking for convenient ways to incorporate these natural ingredients and the Neem Low Smoke Coil does that.” The insecticides category contributes 45% to GCPL’s revenue.

Sunil Kataria Business head, India and SAARC,  Godrej Consumer ProductsAlso, GCPL, which clocked revenue of Rs.8,967 crore, has launched a natural variant for its Rs.1,000 crore brand — Godrej No.1. In June this year, the company launched a germ protection soap with


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