FMCG companies ramp up manufacturing and distribution to meet demand for hygiene products

Meenakshi Verma Ambwani New Delhi | Updated on March 05, 2020



FMCG companies are either ramping up production or doubling down on distribution efforts to ensure availability of hygiene products such as handwash and hand sanitisers on retail shelves to meet the massive spike in demand, as India begins reporting an increase in the number of coronavirus cases.

Consumers in certain regions took to social media to report shortage of products such as hand sanitisers. But key FMCG players on Wednesday stated they have adequate stocks available for such products.

Creating awareness

Sunil Kataria, CEO (India & SAARC), Godrej Consumer Products Ltd said, “We have ramped up production of Protekt hand wash and sanitisers in our units as well as through our vendor partner units. We have also started a strong digital campaign on Godrej Protekt to create awareness about the regime of washing hands regularly as it helps in preventing spread of viruses.” He said the intent of such a campaign is to educate consumers on prevention of spread of COVID-19.

A company spokesperson for Hindustan Unilever said the company has adequate stocks of hand sanitisers to meet the spike in demand. “Given the surge in demand for hygiene products, we have redoubled our efforts to ensure consumers have access to products that keep them safe such as Lifebuoy hand sanitisers and hand wash. While certain pockets may witness a shortage due to sudden demand, overall, we have adequate stock of hand sanitisers and are geared to meet the increased demand,” the spokesperson added.

Companies have also begun strategic campaigns to raise awareness about handwashing, at a time when the globe is battling with the virus outbreak.

Stating that there is adequate supply of “Savlon hygiene products in the market,” a spokespeson for ITC added that, “Savlon continues to focus on enhancing awareness about hand hygiene and urges consumers to maintain good hygiene practices.”

Companies are also stepping up targeted efforts on digital media platforms to address queries of consumers on prevention of Coronavirus. Mukesh Mishra, Marketing Head-Healthcare, Dabur India Ltd said,“Dabur is running a series of awareness campaigns across digital platforms, social Media and mainstream media to educate the public about how to keep themselves safe from Coronavirus. We are also organising a Q&A sessions, particularly for mothers, with Ayurvedic doctors on digital media platforms to address their queries regarding Corona Virus and how to keep their families protected from it.”

Besides shortages, some consumers also took to social media to report price hikes in products such as hand sanitisers and masks. CH Krishna, President, Federation of All India Distributors Association said, “We are cautioning retailers not to take advantage of the prevailing situation by hiking prices of products like hand sanitisers which come with clear MRPs on their packaging labels. While there has been a big surge in demand and shortages are being reported for hand sanitisers, we believe the companies are well-equipped to meet the demand.”

However, he pointed out that keeping track of prices of products such as masks is tough as many do not come with a MRP.

Philipe Haydon, CEO, The Himalaya Drug Company said, “In light of the Coronavirus spread that the country is facing, we have taken specific measures to ensure that we are able to match up to this high demand of hand-washes and sanitizers. We are ramping up our production to match up to this country-wide demand that will help people take precautionary measures. Alongside this, we have an awareness program running across govt. schools in Karnataka to educate children on appropriate ways of washing hands and keeping infections away.

Published on March 04, 2020

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