‘We Are Here to Propagate Ayurveda, Not Compete’
Patanjali Ayurved has significantly narrowed the gap with FMCG majors such as Dabur, Marico and Godrej Consumer as the Baba Ramdev-led firm has more than doubled its sales in the past year to nearly .₹ 5,000 crore. In fact, analysts have downgraded Colgate and Dabur as they face relentless pressure from Patanjali. Acharya Balkrishna, managing director of the Haridwar-based company told
in an interview that competing with these players was never the intention. Edited excerpts: Since Patanjali Ayurved has a strong religious undertone, have you considered opening stores outside places of worship? We will do well outside temples as we have pooja essentials such as agarbatti and ghee, but we can also do well near hospitals because we sell medicines. We don’t need to follow any such strategy because we are everywhere — our shops will do well regardless of where they are located because of the sheer range of products we sell.
How are you keeping up with the rise in demand? Is there a need to outsource some of the product manufacturing? We have finished working on a lot of models when it comes to herbal cultivation. We have created a very big setup in the North-East and planted close to 8 lakh saplings of the medicinal herb Indian Tinospora (giloya/guduchi) there. Similarly, we have planted 50,000 saplings of amla, some on our own and some with other farmers. We have also started cultivation of aloe vera in parts of Rajasthan. Around 40 quintal seeds of tulsi have been planted. We have planted nearly 15 lakh herbal plants this year alone and I doubt if anybody else has done something like this
before in India. A few months ago, Baba Ramdev announced his intent to open his own line of clothing. Any update? We have done a lot of R&D on this, but right now our priority is to improve in the categories that we are currently in and to take them forward. Our target is to double the number of stores.
Other ‘babas’ are competing with your brands now, and mainstream companies are launching ayurvedic products.What's your take? Our aim was to establish ayurveda and discover how it can be made part of our daily lives. Everyone knew about herbal medicines but we tried to incorporate herbs in necessities like toothpastes, soaps and shampoos. A lot of research and experimentation have gone into each of our products, and we are not here to compete with anyone but to propagate ayurveda and healthy living.
But the space is getting cluttered and it’s now Baba’s products versus others. Don't you think the entire theme of ayurveda will be lost? Everybody has the right to serve the country – it isn’t Baba Ramdev’s alone. Our main objective is to tell people about ayurveda, and it is up to them to decide where they want to buy from.