Companies

ITC looks to strike up ambience with agarbattis

Shobha Roy Kolkata | Updated on July 13, 2012 Published on July 12, 2012

ITC Ltd is exploring opportunities to tap the niche aromatherapy market through introduction of customised agarbattis.

How about burning an agarbatti (incense stick ) to ward off your headache or for stress relief?

FMCG major ITC Ltd is exploring opportunities to tap the niche aromatherapy market through introduction of customised agarbattis.

According to Mr V M Rajasekharan, chief executive, agarbatti business, incense sticks can be used for “ambience creation.”

He, however, says the proposal is still in a nascent stage and the company is far from drawing any concrete plan in this regard.

“ITC may look at emerging opportunities in aromatherapy and ambience creation in the future,” Mr Rajasekharan told Business Line.

“These are early days. It will take sometime to conduct experiments. There is no point making claims that the product will ward off headache or relieve stress if it actually cannot give desired results,” he said.

Core business

Meanwhile, the company is planning to expand its agarbatti procurement network under its Mangaldeep brand in Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.

“There are lot of enquiries from these State Governments and we are looking at it. Some pilot projects will start soon,” he said. Availability of raw materials and proximity to market will be the key criteria to choose a particular state.

ITC, currently procures agarbattis from Odisha, Bihar and Tripura.

According to Mr Rajasekharan, the division has created employment opportunities for close to 13,000 people, mostly women.

According to market sources, ITC’s agarbatti business is growing at over 35 per cent on a year-on-year basis. The market-size is estimated to be close to Rs 3,000 crore.

Procurement process

The company follows a multiple phase approach to its agarbatti business. Raw sticks are hand rolled by the women in rural areas. It is then passed on to the small scale industry for perfuming and packaging. The finished product is marketed through ITC’s distribution network.

The company works with 18-20 small scale industries across the country. “We have continuous interaction with these industries to ensure that they adhere to the standards. Maintaining uniformity in the size of the stick, fragrance and packaging are some of the things we look out for,” he said.

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Published on July 12, 2012
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