FMCG: Ruchi Soya: Betting big on e-tail


May 30, 2022

Written By Akanksha Nagar

Having acquired Patanjali Ayurved’s food retail business, the company has ambitious plans

While its edible oil business has been its mainstay, Ruchi Soya’s CEO Sanjeev Asthana is confident that the share of FMCG revenue could touch 20% this fiscal.

Ruchi Soya has its sights set on clocking `20,000 crore- `22,000 crore in revenue over the next five years from its FMCG business, after recently having acquired Patanjali Ayurved’s food retail business worth `690 crore. The Patanjali food portfolio comprises 21 major products, including top-selling items such as ghee, honey and juices, besides staples such as atta and spices.

To achieve its target, Ruchi Soya plans to launch a D2C (direct-to-consumer) channel in the next two months for its nutraceuticals business, with more categories to follow, while also increasing its investment on e-commerce and expanding its offline footprint. It is quite active across all key online marketplaces including Flipkart, Amazon and JioMart.

According to the latest Statista report, India’s FMCG market was valued at $110 billion in 2020, and by 2025, it is expected to touch $220 billion, as more brands adopt the D2C route. Several top FMCG makers, including Hindustan Unilever, Dabur and Emami, have launched D2C brands in the past two years.

Oiling other products

While its edible oil business has been its mainstay, Ruchi Soya’s CEO Sanjeev Asthana is confident that the share of FMCG revenue could touch 20% this fiscal. It is targeting `7000 crore in revenue from FMCG and `25,000 crore from commodity sales by the end of FY23. “Over the next five years, the revenue split between FMCG and commodities will be equal,” he says.

Furthermore, Ruchi Soya plans on consolidating and rationalising the Patanjali food portfolio, while simultaneously revamping some of its existing products. “The aim is to reposition the entire company towards being a food FMCG major,” says Asthana.

Following the acquisition, Ruchi Soya will be renamed Patanjali Foods (after regulatory approvals). Asthana says that brands such as Nutrela, Mahakosh, Ruchi Gold and Sunrich will continue to be marketed under their existing names, while all the businesses that are coming in from Patanjali will use the Patanjali brand in exchange for a brand licensing fee

evangshu Dutta, chief executive, Third Eyesight, says the company name change may work in its favour, since there is a large audience aligned with the image and values of Patanjali Group and its founder Baba Ramdev.

Casting a wide net

But not all is smooth-sailing. Alagu Balaraman, CEO, Augmented SCM, suggests for the company to scale up, it needs to build a robust traditional distribution network, since a bulk of sales still happens through these channels. “The cost of doing e-commerce delivery is significantly high,” he notes.

Ruchi Soya is working on those lines. Asthana says besides utilising Patanjali’s existing distribution muscle, it is expanding its offline retail footprint by adding 10,500 non-exclusive modern grocery stores and 4,500 exclusive ones every month.

Source: financialexpress

Wellness: From Lifestyle to an Industry

Devangshu Dutta

September 28, 2017


In recent decades, the dependence on established medical disciplines has begun to be challenged. There is the oft-quoted dictum that healthcare sector tends to illness rather than health. Another saying goes that some of the food you eat keeps you in good health, but most of what you eat keeps your doctor in good health. With a gap emerging between wellness-seekers and the healthcare sector, so-called “alternative” options are stepping in.

Some of these alternatives actually existed as well-structured and well-documented traditional medical practices for thousands of years before the introduction of more recent Western medical disciplines. This includes India’s Siddha system and Ayurved (literally, “science of life”), which certainly don’t deserve being relegated to an “alternative” footnote. Ayurved is also said to have influenced medicine in China over a millennium ago, through the translation of Indian medical texts into Chinese.

Other than these, there are also more recent inventions riding the “wellness” buzzword. These may draw from the traditional systems and texts, or be built upon new pharmaceutical or nutraceutical formulations. Broader wellness regimens – much like Ayurved and Siddha – blend two or more elements from the following basket: food choices and restrictions, minerals, extracts and supplements, physical exercise and perhaps some form of meditative practices. Wellness, thus, is often characterised by a mix-and-match based on individual choices and conveniences, spiked with celebrity influences.

A key premise driving the wellness sector is that modern medicine depends too heavily on attacking specific issues with single chemicals (drugs) or combinations of single chemicals that are either isolated or synthesised in laboratories, and that it ignores the diversity and complexity of factors contributing to health and well-being. The second major premise for many wellness practitioners (though not all!) is that, provided the right conditions, the body can heal itself. For the consumer the reasons for the surge in demand for traditional wellness solutions include escalating costs of conventional health care, the adverse effects of allopathic drugs, and increasing lifestyle disorders.

After food, wellness has turned into possibly one of the largest consumer industries on the planet. Global pharmaceutical sales are estimated at over US$ 1.1 trillion. In contrast, according to the Global Wellness Institute, the wellness market dwarfs this, estimated at US$ 3.7 trillion (2015). This figure includes a vast range of services such as beauty and anti-ageing, nutrition and weight loss, wellness tourism, fitness and mind-body, preventative and personalized medicine, wellness lifestyle real estate, spa industry, thermal/mineral springs, and workplace wellness. Within this, the so-called “Complementary and Alternative Medicine” is estimated to be about US$200 billion.

There are several reasons why “complementary and alternative medicine” sales are not yet larger. Rooted in economically backward countries such as India, these have been seen as outdated, less effective and even unscientific. In India, the home of Siddha and Ayurved, apart from individual practitioners, several companies such as Baidyanath, Dabur, Himalaya and others were active in the market for decades, but were usually seen as stodgy and products of need, and usually limited to people of the older generations and rural populations. In the West they typically attracted a fringe customer base, or were a last resort for patients who did not find a solution for their specific problem in modern allopathy and hospitals.

However, through the 1970s Ayurved gained in prominence in the West, riding on the New Age movement. Gradually, in recent decades proponents turned to modern production techniques, slick packaging and up-to-date marketing, and even local cultivation in the West of medicinal plants taken from India.

As wellness demonstrated an increasingly profitable vector in the West, Indian entrepreneurs, too, have taken note of this opportunity. Perhaps Shahnaz Husain was one of the earliest movers in the beauty segment, followed by Biotique in the early-1990s that developed a brand driven not just by a specific need but by desire and an approach that was distinctly anti-commodity, the characteristics of any successful brand. Others followed, including FMCG companies such as the multinational giant Unilever. The last decade-and-a-half has also brought the phenomenon called Patanjali, a brand that began with Ayurvedic products and grew into an FMCG and packaged food-empire faster than any other brand before! While a few giants have emerged, the market is still evolving, allowing other brands to develop, whether as standalone names or as extensions of spiritual and holistic healing foundations, such as Sri Sri Tattva, Isha Arogya and others.

An absolutely critical driver of this growth in the Indian market now is the generation that has grown up during the last 25-30 years. It is a class that is driven by choice and modern consumerism, but that also wishes to reconnect with its spiritual and cultural roots. This group is aware of global trends but takes pride in home-grown successes. It is comfortable blending global branded sportswear with yoga or using an Indian ayurvedic treatment alongside an international beauty product.

Of course, there is a faddish dimension to the wellness phenomenon, and it is open to exploitation by poor or ineffective products, non-standard and unscientific treatments, entirely outrageous efficacy claims, and price-gouging.

To remain on course and strengthen, the wellness movement will need structured scientific assessment and development at a larger scale, a move that will need both industry and government to work closely together. Traditional texts would need to be recast in modern scientific frameworks, supported by robust testing and validation. Education needs to be strengthened, as does the use of technology.

However the industry and the government move, from the consumer’s point-of-view the juggernaut is now rolling.

(An edited version of this piece was published in Brand Wagon, Financial Express.)

Patanjali – from Yoga to Noodles (Video)


May 7, 2016

Third Eyesight’s CEO, Devangshu Dutta recently participated in a discussion about the phenomenal growth of the Patanjali brand, from yoga lessons to a food and FMCG conglomerate taking well-established multinational and Indian competitors head-on. In a conversation with Zee Business anchor, P. Karunya Rao and FCB-Ulka’s chairman Rohit Ohri, Devangshu shared his thoughts on the factors playing to Patanjali’s advantage. Excerpts from the conversation were telecast on Brandstand on Zee Business: