Marico's foray into Chyawanprash opens up a market now characterised by a large player wanting a share of the immunity story. At a time when the pandemic has dominated the narrative for a year and half, every company sees an opportunity here. Marico has launched the product under the Saffola brand name, which with the Parachute hair oil range is synonymous with the company. Just what is that the company has seen in the Chyawanprash story and how does Saffola hope to make a difference?
Saffola already has the Immuniveda range and Marico's thrust on this category was evident at this year's annual general meeting. The management reiterated its topline target of Rs 500 crore from immunity and nutrition and Rs 850-1,000 crore by FY24. Within the Saffola Immuniveda range are products such as turmeric milk mix, honey, green coffee, kadha mix and soya chunks, with Chyawanprash being the most recent addition.
According to KS Narayanan, who has spent several years in the F&B industry and is now an independent advisor, Saffola does not have an ayurveda lineage and heritage but comes with strong health credentials, especially in the case of health of the heart with kardi oils and its oats portfolio. "Chyawanprash is more a product for immunity, good health but not specifically for the health of the heart. It appears they have had limited success with Chyawanamrut and thus launched Chyawanprash," he explains.
Narayanan is quick to point out that established companies with any Ayurveda heritage - the likes of Dabur, Zandu, Patanjali - are already in the Chyawanprash game. The complexity of the market is another factor. "There are a large number of ayurveda practitioners who have their own formulations and market them in local circles."
Vinod Nair, Head of Research, Geojit Financial, is clear that Chyawanprash is a big growth story for Marico. "Dabur is the clear leader here with a high brand recall. It is quite likely that Marico will put in a lot of money behind promoting its new product coupled with its distribution capability. They are banking on the category taking off," he says.
On this, Narayanan says brand building calls for a lot of effort. "Besides, Marico will be handicapped by not having scale in this category unlike Dabur. It will be a long and arduous climb on the back of high marketing costs coupled with third party manufacturing."
Industry estimates point towards Chyawanprash being a Rs 700-800 crore market, with Dabur having at least a 50 per cent market share. Interestingly, it is another step in the battle between the two FMCG biggies -- they have been at it be it hair oil, honey and now Chyawanprash with not just aggressive marketing but a lot of comparative advertising too.
Given the track record, it is but natural for the market leader, Dabur to turn on the heat be it through communication or even at the trade level. Immunity is a long-term goldmine for marketers in India and they will not spare the smallest gap in the market to get a shot at the business.
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