Booster shot

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March 8, 2021 7:39 AM

A new range of immunity products has hit the health and wellness segment

According to a study by Mintel India conducted in May 2020, 57% consumers said they would increase their expenditure on healthcare productsAccording to a study by Mintel India conducted in May 2020, 57% consumers said they would increase their expenditure on healthcare products

The conversation around health and wellness seems to have shifted from ‘turmeric in everything’ to ‘long-term habits that build immunity’. According to a study by Mintel India conducted in May 2020, 57% consumers said they would increase their expenditure on healthcare products — not just masks and sanitisers, but also traditional immunity boosters and other herbal health supplements — as a result of the pandemic. Consider this: in the October-December quarter of 2020, Dabur registered a 34.7% y-o-y growth in its health supplements business.

FMCG brands are now eyeing a larger share of the immunity market and launching nasal wash, oil pulling products and apple cider vinegars, among others.

Business of immunity

Dabur has introduced new products in its health supplements category over the past year, including two variants of apple cider vinegar. The Dabur Himalayan Apple Cider Vinegar is priced at Rs 370 for a 500 ml pack, while the organic version costs nearly twice as much. “There is enhanced awareness about health and wellness best practices now, compared to the pre-pandemic period,” says Rajat Mathur, AGM – consumer marketing, Dabur India.

GSK decided to launch a nasal wash because “people have now become extremely cautious about their hygiene,” says Vijay Sharma, area marketing lead, OTC and expert marketing ISC, GSK Consumer Healthcare. Otrivin Breathe Clean, its saline nasal wash, is available in a 100 ml pack, for Rs 335. GSK is positioning it as a daily use product.

Meanwhile, Colgate Palmolive has launched Colgate Vedshakti Oil Pulling product, aimed at improving oral hygiene and overall health. A 200 ml pack of the oil costs Rs 350.

Too niche?

The price points of each of these products may make it tough for brands to drive mass adoption. Rajat Wahi, partner, Deloitte India, says, “Pricing is very critical for the health and hygiene category. It is doubtful whether people will shell out a premium for a product for which there is an inexpensive solution available at home.”

Although not a very well-known technique, people have been practising oil pulling with cooking oils such as coconut oil. However, Colgate Palmolive’s VP – marketing, Arvind Chintamani, says the right oil concoction can do a much better job than one oil alone. “There is a long way to go in building awareness about oil pulling,” he says, adding that the company will be undertaking a nationwide campaign to educate consumers.

GSK has kickstarted an influencer marketing campaign, with celebrities Mandira Bedi and Rannvijay Singha, to promote Otrivin Breathe Clean.

WOW Skin Science, a personal care brand, launched apple cider vinegar as a health drink in 2013. The company now has a range of skincare and haircare products with apple cider vinegar as an ingredient. “Apple cider vinegar has gained popularity because it is a wonder ingredient that is good for the skin, hair and body. It improves gut health and aids weight management,” says Manish Chowdhary, co-founder, WOW Skin Science.

Betting on a product that has multiple uses could promote wider adoption, say analysts. For example, a cold-pressed coconut oil that could be used in cooking and for oil pulling could be a winning combination.

E-commerce is an important part of their retail strategy. Dabur’s apple cider vinegar is on sale only on e-commerce portals; Otrivin Breathe Clean, Sharma says, has been witnessing demand on Amazon and 1mg, apart from pharmacies in the top metros.

Wahi points out that with people becoming lax about protocols like wearing masks and washing hands, their health and hygiene practices may have returned to pre-Covid levels. Hence, he says, while consumers may experiment with these products, they may not become repeat users.

Read Also: How navigating ‘What’s Next’ will deliver superior customer experience

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