- OnJanuary 25, 2016
Baba Ramdev, who has put India in a noodled twist with his mint and clove flavoured offering that takes on Nestle’s Maggi, says he has covered 20 lakh km during his padayatras and personally touched 20 crore people.
“Over 100 crore people know me by face,” declares the maverick yogi turned marketer.
Now he is trying to get his Patanjali brand to cover as much ground if not more by ramping up the distribution chain, and expanding the production footprint to the south.
Coming up are Patanjali mega marts across the country. The first of these was launched in Nagpur last month, while the next three will be opened in Delhi, Bengaluru and Kolkata soon.
“These will be 3,000-5,000 sq ft stores and will stock Patanjali products exclusively,” Ramdev told BusinessLine.
Given that Patanjali has just inked a much hyped distribution deal with Kishore Biyani’s Future Group that gives it pride of place in Big Bazaar’s shelves, why the need for own branded stores?
“Zaroorat hai. (we need it),” says Ramdev, pointing out that between Patanjali and Divya Pharmacy the group produces 562 products and hypermarkets will not be able to showcase the entire range.
In its FMCG war chest alone, Patanjali has 398 products if you include all the variants, says Acharya Balkrishna, the 43-year-old confidante of Baba Ramdev and architect of the ₹2,000 crore Patanjali FMCG business.
Appearing unfazed by the Food Safety and Standards Authority (FSSAI) noodles controversy, which he brushes aside as just “some confusion over pasta and noodles”, he says, the aim is to produce products that will be used from kitchen to bathroom in every Indian home, and help the group double its turnover this fiscal.
Even as some packaged food manufacturers are deferring new launches until FSSAI product approvals are clear (a Supreme Court judgement in August had made the old system defunct), Patanjali is going ahead with its plans.
Lined up over the next two months are four big launches – PowerVita, a beverage powder that intends to take on Horlicks; Patanjali Cow Milk Powder, a Shishu Care range of six baby care products and a Soundarya range of 11 herbal cosmetics.
Garments too are in the group’s radar – the range made from organic cotton will be called either Vastram or Paridhan. “From head to toe we want our products to be part of an Indian’s daily habit,” says Ramdev, adding, “Inside and outside – spiritually and cosmetically – we want to touch every Indian.”
He also outlined his plans to put up a manufacturing base in the south. “It will be either in Andhra Pradesh or Karnataka. We have seen some locations.” .
Aren’t these rather lofty plans? Where would the investments for these new projects come from? “Banks are now falling over themselves to give us loans,” declares the Baba who by his own admission does not even have a bank account.
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