Patanjali’s retailing empire now has competition from another spiritual guru, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar 
His FMCG establishment to open retail stores to sell ayurvedic toothpastes & soaps, launch clinics & treatment centres
Patanjali’s retailing empire now has competition from another spiritual guru. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, founder of the Art of Living Foundation, will open about 1,000 retail stores to sell ayurvedic toothpastes and soaps, reflecting the increasing demand for herbal products across India.Sri Sri, who has been honoured with the country’s second-highest civilian award, will also launch clinics and treatment centres in a striking resemblance to the retailing strategy of Baba Ramdev-led Patanjali, the surprise and successful challenger of hitherto MNC (multinational corporation) dominance in India’s consumer industry.

The debut list of products will include toothpastes, detergents, ghee and cookies. “People have now accepted ayurvedic products in their daily lives, and we believe our brand offerings are different compared to those of existing players,“ said Tej Katpitia, chief executive of Sri Sri Ayurveda (SSA) Trust, the FMCG (fast-moving consumer goods) establishment that will open `Sri Sri Tattva’ branded stores.

The company has already been selling health drinks, soaps, fragrances and spices since 2003 through modern retail stores and online, but will now enter several food and home categories expanding its portfolio to over 300 products. The company makes these products in-house at three manufacturing units in India.

“Through clinics, we can carry the entire expertise of the brand in traditional ayurveda diagnosis. We don’t intend to compete with any player and instead grow the ayurveda market,“ added Katpitia.


Similar to the cluster strategy at malls that club together the same category of stores, the majority of Sri Sri Tattva stores could be near Patanjali’s outlets, although with relatively premium positioning and formats.

“The first store will be launched next month with plans to open 50 doors by November. The aim is to have a billion dollar business in the next few years,“ said Gaurav Marya, chairman of Franchise India Holdings, a retail solutions provi der that is helping the company get franchise partners.

Patanjali’s rise to a ` . 10,000-crore company in less than a decade has made most MNC rivals shift their fo cus to the herbal sector.

Hindustan Unilever has relaunched Ayush brand of ayurvedic personal care products, acquired Indulekha hair care brand and launched Citra skincare brand. Similarly, L’Oreal launched a hair-care range under the Garnier Ultra Blends made with natural ingredients. Dabur launched India’s first ayurvedic gel toothpaste under the Dabur Red franchise to contemporarise ayurveda for the younger generation.

Indigenous manufacturers are driving the natural personal-care market, which is fast-expanding.


“Consumers are drawn to Indian brands when it comes to naturals, under the assumption that manufacturers of these brands use `common kitchen ingredients’, making it safe for consumption and less likely to result in side effects or allergies,“ said a recent Nielsen study.

Homegrown companies account for about 79% of India’s natural personalcare market. Brands using natural ingredients now make up more than a fifth of the country’s oral-care market.

A 2016 report by brokerage house Edelweiss said SSA is riding on the brand equity of its founder and has a huge captive base -370 million followers across the world. But the company’s muted success to date is due to limited distribution and brand visibility . SSA is beginning to use mass media, point of sale advertising and decent digital presence, including Amazon, Big Basket and its own website.

Unlike Baba Ramdev, who is personally involved in marketing the products, Sri Sri will not be the face or brand ambassador, the company said. “Brand quality and product benefits will drive sales,“ said Katpitia.