KP Namboodri’s: God’s own tooth powder

V Sajeev Kumar | Updated on May 16, 2021

K Bhavadasan, Managing Director of KP Namboodiri’s

The 95-year-old ayurvedic brand KP Namboodri’s, a household name in Kerala, credits its success to Lord Krishna’s blessings

Lord Krishna, the presiding deity of Guruvayur, Kerala’s famous temple town, receives an unusual offering on the first Wednesdays and Thursdays of every month in the Malayalam calendar. It is Dantadhavanachoornam (an ayurvedic tooth powder), the flagship product of the Thrissur-based 95-year-old brand KP Namboodiri’s, a household name in personal health and hygiene products.

“This offering twice every Malayalam month was started by my grandfather Kolathappally Pothayan Namboodiri, way back in 1925, when he started the company. It still continues without a break,” says K Bhavadasan, Managing Director, KP Namboodiri’s.

The offering days, Bhavadasan adds, are considered auspicious for “future generations and wealth creation”, because it is associated with the story of the poverty-stricken Sudama, who could offer nothing but a handful of beaten rice (powa) on meeting his childhood friend Lord Krishna after many years.

It is the practice of KP Namboodiri’s to offer one pack of tooth powder to the Lord for every 10 kg produced. Now that the company’s production has grown manifold, KP Namboodiri’s monthly offering has grown proportionately too. The temple administration later auctions the offering, adding to its revenue.


Moving beyond oral care

From manufacturing just tooth powder, the company launched a herbal toothpaste in 2007 and, subsequently, three more variants (gel, salt and aloe vera). The brand has over 40 per cent market share in the natural oral care category in Kerala.

Now it has diversified into hair and skin care, herbal ‘thirst quenchers’, and traditional items such as scented bhasmam (ash). “The 95-year-old legacy of quality, trust and heritage has helped the brand reach the levels it has today, becoming a household name in Kerala,” Bhavadasan says.

To connect more with customers, especially the youth, Bhavadasan says the company has unveiled a new and refined brand identity. The focus has been to refresh the packaging, emphasising product benefits and the ayurvedic/herbal ingredients used. A Chennai-based creative agency did the makeover. “We had given all strategic inputs to the firm,” he says.

Asked about the consumer trends in oral care, Bhavadasan explains that herbal toothpaste is a better accepted product among youngsters. The formulation of the legacy tooth powder has been replicated in the toothpaste, which helped acquire new customers.

The company, with presence in Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, is aiming to hit a turnover of ₹100 crore in the coming years. “We marked a growth of 15 per cent in the last FY. We could achieve the growth from oral, hair and skin care products, which were placed in the essential goods category and did well during the Covid times,” says Bhavadasan.

Heritage healthcare

On the export front, he says the company has a market for its oral, skin and hair care products in the GCC nations, Singapore, and Malaysia. It also sells in the US and Europe. With three manufacturing facilities in Thrissur and one in Palakkad, the company is all set to roll out several new hair and skin care products.

Oral history: The Thrissur-based brand KP Namboodiri’s thrives on its herbal legacy


Dominic J Mechery, a brand consultant in Kochi, says Keralites value health and hygiene in their everyday life, even more so in the midst of a health crisis. “When it comes to personal effects, people look for brands with long and varied experience,” he says, explaining KP Namboodiri’s enduring appeal.

The brand also enjoys a strong recall value, especially at a time when both the young and old look for natural remedies for personal products. So the next time you use a KPN product, remember it is something that is “shared” by the gods themselves.

Published on May 16, 2021

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