Packaging Innovation: Working up a lather

The latest gel-to-liquid body wash from Godrej Consumer Products is a smart way to induce trial

The product offers benefits not just to the consumer but also the company.
The product offers benefits not just to the consumer but also the company.

Godrej Consumer Products (GCPL) recently launched a new gel-to-liquid body wash under its Magic brand, in its effort to offer a new bathing experience to the mass market customer. The new offering, a gel sachet that can be mixed with 200ml of water to create a liquid body wash, is priced at a nominal `45. The low price point means that consumers can now experience body wash at the cost of a soap, says Somasree Bose Awasthi, chief marketing officer, GCPL.

Given that most brands sell body washes in 200-250 ml packs at a price upwards of 120, she explains that the new launch will make body wash experiences accessible to average bar soap users. “The aim was not so much to target the much smaller segment of existing shower gel or body wash users. What allures us is the size of the soap market, which is estimated to be a21,000-crore category. And rather than gain market share here, the objective of the launch is to penetrate and build the category,” she points out.

Bringing on the magic

The body wash is the second innovative product to be launched by GCPL under the Magic brand. In 2018, the company introduced its Magic hand wash in a powder-to-liquid format, priced at 15. Interestingly, a few other brands such as Savlon and Lifebuoy followed suit, launching their own versions of powder-to-liquid hand soaps, some even at10. Awasthi recounts, “We tasted tremendous success with this innovation. In fact, in terms of volume share, we are at 20% in a category that is flooded with strong hand wash players. Plus, since we saw the market leaders follow with similar product launches, we knew we were doing something right.” She says that it was the encouraging response to the hand wash that gave the brand confidence to launch a body wash.

It is easy to see why the soap market “allures” GCPL. The Indian soap market was over 21,500 crore in FY20 and is poised to reach33,000 crore by FY26, according to industry reports. Being a price-sensitive market, most consumers choose bar soaps since they are cheaper than gel or liquid variants, observes Rajat Wahi, partner, Deloitte India. He notes that growing awareness about sanitation and an increase in disposable income in rural India are key factors driving growth for this category. “Shower gel is still a new category for the Indian consumer, but demand for hygiene products is helping the hygiene and skincare segment grow. Lower pH, paraben-free, skin-friendly and antibacterial properties in body washes are further aiding market growth,”he notes.

Awasthi adds that often the biggest deterrent for a consumer to choose body wash is the price, which is where Magic comes in.

Cost advantage

The product offers benefits not just to the consumer but also the company. Awasthi remarks that this innovation has brought down the cost of production and distribution, while also being environment friendly. She elaborates, “Our savings are close to 80-85% in terms of energy and plastic use. The Magic body wash requires just 16% of the plastic in packaging and 19% of the energy to manufacture, compared with a regular body wash, and just 10% of the total energy that goes into manufacturing a bar of soap. Since the gel-based sachets are small and light, more sachets can be transported in every truck, leading to 44% lesser fuel consumption compared with transportation of liquid body wash packs.” The company has also committed `100 crore towards driving awareness about the reduction of plastic over the next three years.

Deloitte’s Wahi notes that innovation in packaging and wastage reduction through the reuse of bottles or containers can in fact help companies see an average of 15-20% savings across energy and plastic usage. He states, “These can also lead to changes in consumer behaviour in the long term, as well as support new channels such as e-commerce.”

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