As the massively destructive second wave of the COVID-19 epidemic sweeps across India, major FMCG companies are seeing a huge increase in demand for their health and hygiene products, including hand sanitizers, hand washes, disinfectant sprays and germ protection wipes. Companies such as ITC, Himalaya Drug Company and Patanjali said they have increased their production capacity to accelerate demand, assuring that their hygiene products are available to consumers.
Companies had seen a slowdown in the consumption pattern of these commodities in the last 2-3 months. Now, they have reviewed their production plans as per the current situation and are growing rapidly and streamlining their production capacity. ITC Divisional Chief Executive (Personal Products) Sameer Satpathy says, “We are seeing a strong jump in demand for our hygiene portfolio in some geographies. Told PTI.
Similarly, Rajesh Krishnamurthy, Business Director (Consumer Products Division), Himalaya Drug Company, said, “We have shifted our logistics, sales priorities and capabilities to cater to the COVID-19-driven business environment.” In the Himalayas, he said “production planning is done about two months in advance so we did not expect an upsurge in cases in late March and early April. We have reviewed the production plans as per the current situation.”
Krishnamurthy continued, “We will continue to ensure that product categories such as hand washing, hygiene category, home care and scavengers are made available to consumers.” Haridwar-based Patanjali Ayurved also said that the sudden increase in demand has created a supply bottleneck but it is temporary and the company has streamlined its production capacity.
Patanjali spokesperson KK Tijarawala said, “We are gearing up and soon these products will be available everywhere.” He said that the second wave is so smooth that no one thought of spreading with such mass and mass speed.
Tijarawala said, “We have focused all our production capacity and promoted immunity to meet the demand for Cononil, Shawasari Vati, Anu Tel, Giloy Ghan Vati, Tulsi Ghanvati, Chyawanprash and Immunogrit, etc.” Executive Vice President of Edelweiss Financial Services Abnesh Roy said that due to the second wave of epidemic, the house hygiene category would witness increased demand.
He said, “Hygiene products will have a positive filament. Products such as soaps, masks, surface cleaning predictors, sanitisers and possibly mosquito repellants will see a rebound.” According to him companies like HUL, Godrej Consumer Products Ltd and ITC would benefit from it.
However, he also said that although products like hand sanitizers are coming back, there is likely to be a short stay due to the shift towards the use of soap / hand wash. “In the first four months of 2019-20, sanitisers saw an insane rush to launch products with alcohol, paint and many non-FMCG companies.
“However, over the next two quarters, demand for sanitizers declined, causing most newcomers to fall out of the category. Saints are making a comeback due to rising cases of covid,” he said. He said that this segment would be consolidated in favor of companies like Reckitt and HUL, which have much stronger brand equity in this space.