Kanpur-based detergent firm, Rohit Surfactants Private Limited (RSPL) which owns the flagship brand, Ghari, is all set to reinforce its FMCG presence by foraying into Rs 85,000 crore homecare segment from its present interest in cluttered washing soap section.
The company has commenced production at its new manufacturing facility in Haridwar with a production capacity of 123 tonnes/day to meet its requirements in the new fragment. The plant will manufacture homecare and cosmetic products market with a range of shampoos, facial and shaving creams, toilet cleaners, floor cleaners, hair oil etc.
According to group corporate affairs president, S K Bajpai, the detergent and fabric wash segment in the country is characterised by low per capita consumption, especially in the rural markets. “To further enhance our portfolio and market penetration, we will have a slew of homecare consumer products including low-cost options for consumers,” Bajpai told Business Standard.
He said that the launch initiative was buoyed by the fact that the group had outdone all its local competitors in the markets of Uttar Pradesh excluding the National Capital Region (NCR). “We already have a strong dealer and marketing network across the country and are among the leading groups in the north Indian market, which will be a great advantage for us,” said Bajpai.
When asked about the stiff competition from other market biggies like Marico and Cavincare, Bajpai said the company would continue to invest in the traditional mom-and-pop stores but sharing shelf space with bigger brands would provide an easy avenue of cannibalising into others’ share.
“Modern trade has helped us in sharing shelf space with bigger brands and beat them in securing place in the consumer’s basket. We have strong brand presence in our niche markets where we will target our consumers initially,” he said. He said the decision to foray into broader FMCG space was taken last year after due market research conducted by reputed consultants.
“Contrary to popular notion, the reports reflected a lack of cost-effective options in homecare segment for consumers in interior U P and parts of M P and Bihar. We have decided to launch our entry from these markets as we also have advantage of strong dealer network and brand presence here,” he added.
Asked if the company was planning to introduce more products in the segment, he said it would first look at increasing market share of the existing products before planning additional products.
“In this category, establishing a brand is a pricey proposition. One has to spend money on mass advertising and image building. Establishing a brand well is as important as pricing in this segment,” he added.
He, however, added that R&D efforts were on to improve formulation and the relaunch of the new versions might take place in the next six months or so.
The company has four prevailing detergent brands — Ghari powder and cakes, Xpert- the dishwasher, MR2- the premium category detergent powder and Venus toilet soaps.
The group has recently relaunched its existing toilet soap brand, Venus backed with an aggressive marketing and advertising campaign apart from attractive sops to distributors.
The soap will now be available in three variants targeting the middle class users, which form the lion’s share of the company’s consumers.