Definite growth in the ayurvedic wellness industry all through the pandemic: Param Bhargava, KEHPL

As per a report by Research and Markets, the Ayurveda market in India was valued at INR 300 billion in 2018 and is expected to reach INR 710.87 billion by 2024.

Definite growth in the ayurvedic wellness industry all through the pandemic: Param Bhargava, KEHPL
'Several key players in the industry witnessed financial figures that are way beyond their regular industrial standards. '

The post-pandemic world has witnessed a sea change in consumer habits. The main change is the way consumers are consuming beauty and wellness products. As the pandemic makes us question life choices and the world around us, the focus has shifted more and more towards a more natural and holistic way of living. And it has witnessed that there is a growing preference for Ayurveda, not just in our consumption habits, in terms of food products, immunity boosters, and food supplements, but a revolution in the beauty industry as well. The numbers also show for it. As per a report by Research and Markets, the Ayurveda market in India was valued at INR 300 billion in 2018 and is expected to reach INR 710.87 billion by 2024, expanding at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of ~16.06%, during the forecast period (2019-2024). In recent years, as a holistic healing system, Ayurveda has witnessed an evolution in the form of Ayurvedic products and services. Rising awareness about the importance of a healthy lifestyle, increasing preference in favor of chemical-free natural products, as well as favorable government initiatives have led to the expansion of the Ayurveda market in India. In an exclusive conversation with the Financial Express Online Param Bhargava, Founder, KE Healthcare Private Limited (KEHPL) talked about the growth of Ayurveda products in Indian markets and about KEHPL. Excerpts:

In the post-covid-19 world, the consumer’s focus has shifted more towards a natural and holistic way of living. it has witnessed that there is a growing preference for Ayurveda, did you see the same growth and receive demand from the consumers? Also, please share this financial year’s figures.

I’d like to answer the first bit of your question in a clear affirmative. There was a definite increase in growth in the ayurvedic wellness industry all through the pandemic, largely influenced by pandemic induced paranoia and a greater emphasis on naturally derived, preventive, immunity building measures. The overall industrial impact worked favorably for both our brands Khadi Essentials and TAC, directly impacting the demand for our products as well. Fortunately for us, we chose to step into the entrepreneurial landscape at the cusp of this shift in consumer buying behavior.

Several key players in the industry witnessed financial figures that are way beyond their regular industrial standards. The pandemic became a virtual launchpad for our second brand, The Ayurveda Co. (TAC), which was launched early 2021 with greater emphasis on affordable product range with products concerning immunity health and nutrition. TAC has managed to do phenomenally well in this infinitesimally small fraction of time which has a great bearing upon this changing market sentiment. Our last financial year, Khadi Essentials in a mere year of its inception closed at over 15 crores in gross merchandise value and we are certain that we will close the next financial year with even better results.

Ayurveda products, pandemic, Covid-19, immunity boosters, food supplements, Param Bhargava, KEHPL, Khadi Essentials, TAC
Param Bhargava, Founder, KE Healthcare Private Limited (KEHPL)

Please share a brief about KE Healthcare Pvt Limited under which you have Khadi Essentials and The Ayurveda Company too.

Post overcoming personal health tribulations with Ayurvedic intervention, we resolved to make such impactful, naturally sourced, organic products easily accessible to all. The positive impact that ayurvedic treatment had on me, was enough to convince us of the efficacy of this traditional science and we made it our goal to take it to the world.

In 2019, our vision began to materialize and KEHPL came to be. We had finally launched our very own D2C beauty and wellness brand, Khadi Essentials under the KEHPL banner.

Our second brand was a dream launch. We actually studied the ancient wellness practice and sought expert help from those who hold authority in the field and consulted several scientific research and development centers before eventually going on to launch The Ayurveda Co. (TAC) early this year. We hope to make TAC the biggest Ayurveda based beauty, health and wellness brand globally.

As the market is flooded with chemical-based products, what are your thoughts in this regard? How are you different from others?

Chemical formulations within the cosmetic industry are in most instances based on several years’ worth of scientific R&D. Regardless, their impact on the body, both good or bad, have been a subject of much debate within these same scholarly circles. Depending upon which side of this dialogue one stands, their opinions on these chemical formulations would also vary.

TAC derives its uniqueness from the fact that it establishes a synergy between ancient ayurvedic wisdom and contemporary science. With brands claiming all Ayurveda on one hand & Derma on the other, TAC aims to achieve the right balance of sustainable and effective Beauty & Wellness. It appreciates the legacy of Ayurveda without negating the advancements modern science has made. All our products, despite their scientific formulations, are in fact naturally derived. Product formulations arrived out of rare & ancient herbs like Yashtimadhu are combined with state-of-the-art solutions like Niacinamide to make Ayurveda relevant and suited to the modern day – formulations are effective, fuss-free & great to experience.

What are your views on the Ayurveda market and what is the impact of Covid-19 on this segment?

We personally believe that there are two primary ways in which COVID-19 has impacted the Ayurveda market. The first one, I’ve already brought up in a previous question, is a sense of growing mistrust in modern medicine and heavier reliance on naturally derived immunity boosters as a precautionary measure. Precaution was all anyone could rely upon, in these unprecedented times and supplements and gummies were a range, especially those extracted organically.

The second reason for a growth spurt in the Ayurveda sector would be the cyclical nature of industrial trends. Humans tend towards complex solutions until this metaphorical wheel of consumer sentiment comes full circle and there’s a certain desire to move back to simpler ways and reduced complexity. Several new trends aimed at reverse engineering, simplifying and decluttering our lives were beginning to emerge in the past couple years. The role Covid-19 played here was that the popularity of these trends was fueled further by the pandemic where complex modern medications were unfortunately being proven ineffective in most cases.

Please give a brief overview of your online channels since inception.

Our vast product portfolio is present across most online retail platforms like Nykaa, Myntra, and Amazon. It was on these platforms that our online journey originally began. We have a massive footfall across each of these platforms. Our major focus, at the moment, is on ensuring similar growth on our online D2c channels for both Khadi essentials and The Ayurveda Co.

Under KEHPL, what are the different product ranges available at your e-commerce platforms?

Both our brands TAC and Khadi Essentials, under the KEHPL umbrella, deal primarily with products in the beauty and wellness domain.

We have our skin care range which can be further sub-categorized into facial care with day and night creams, under eye creams, sunscreen, facial cleansers, mizzles (facial mist) and serums; lip care range with combinations of scrub, butter and tints; and body butters and polishers.

Then there is the hair-care range that offers a huge array of masks, oils, and cleansers, each targeted at a specific concern.

TAC further extends this portfolio with Immunity boosting supplements like Shilajit and kadha.

Adapting to the pandemic, we also introduced N95 masks and sanitizers under the Pure & Safe range. These product ranges are likely to be extended even further in the near future. Our plans are under progress.

What are your expansion plans?

We are slated to enter international markets very soon and it is this endeavor that has perhaps been consuming most of our energies at the moment. Our brand TAC is expected to reach the 25cr mark by the end of this financial year.

We do plan to establish a greater physical presence eventually, but that decision will be subject to a lot of external factors which are to a great extent, out of our effective and immediate control.

As far as the KEHPL family is concerned, we are likely to grow 100 members strong by the end of this financial year and hope to continue growing even further.

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First published on: 22-07-2021 at 14:36 IST