Hamdard Laboratories India is the 114-year-old heritage organization, and the maker of iconic brands and herbal FMCG products such as RoohAfza, and a variety of other food products. Hamdard India is now gearing up on a transformational mode and expanding its product portfolio by introducing new product formats, and has extending its popular brand RoohAfza into newer segments ranging from fruit-based ready-to-drink beverages to milkshakes – RoohAfza Fusion and RoohAfza Milkshake. As an expansion strategy, Hamdard Laboratories India ( Foods Division) is in the process of launching a range of categories in the foods domain. The organization has made huge forays into the digital space, engaging with consumers on social media, and has an overpowering presence in all channels of business in India and overseas. The company’s largest brand RoohAfza, is positioned as the market leader in the syrups, powders and concentrates category with a staggering 45% share.
The company is expanding its product portfolio with the launch of ‘Natural Blossom Honey’. Honey, coming from the house of Hamdard is a testament to the efficacy and natural delight of the purest form of honey available. The company is now rising consciousness in consumers for natural and herbal products, along with witnessing an increasing demand for honey as an essential health supplement, and a growing food category in every household. Honey in today’s time is not only a home remedy but is now seen as a healthier substitute to processed sugars in the urban as well as rural landscape. Honey as a category has now moved from a niche use to a widely consumed lifestyle product amongst consumers.
Hamdard’s Natural Blossom Multifloral Honey brings forth a range of health benefits from acting as a natural energy booster, enhancing immunity, a natural antioxidant, providing relief in cough, and acting as a probiotic, amongst many others. True to this sentiment, the brand communication says, “HamdardHai, Pure Hai”.
In an exclusive chat with MediaNews4U, Hamid Ahmed, CEO, Hamdard Laboratories India (Foods Div.) talks about the launch in this crisis, the goodness of Honey, way forward and innovative ways of brand communication….
Hamdard is one of the oldest brands when it comes to naturally sourced products, what will be the new product offerings in the near future?
Hamdard Laboratories India (Foods Division) is on a journey towards launching a range of new products in the foods domain. These categories have been strategically selected and aligned with our core values of purity and consumer trust. We have recently launched Honey and our other new products that have marked our entry in the RTD (Ready to Drink) segment, i.e. Roohafza Milkshake and Roohafza Fusion (5 different flavours) which have been doing well in the market. Hamdard Saffron has alos been launched, which would fall into the premium spices and condiment category. We have an exciting line-up of new products that would widen the brand’s horizon into relevant and exciting food categories.
There are many brands of honey, what is so special about ‘Natural Blossom Honey’?
Our ‘Natural Blossom Honey’ represents the highest standards of quality and purity staying true to our brand ‘Hamdard’, which over the years has garnered a huge sense of trust in the minds of consumers. Our Honey brings forth the benefits of enhancing immunity through antioxidants, boosts energy and has excellent probiotic properties amongst an array of other benefits. The very fact that the Honey is from the house of Hamdard is one of the major differentiators for the product.
People have become more thoughtful about their health and honey is being used as a substitute for white sugar, how do you see the trend?
Consumers have become more aware and health-conscious with their lifestyle; and the current pandemic has accelerated that thought process. People now prefer more organic and healthy substitutes thereby increasing the consumption of honey as a major substitute for white sugar. Hamdard Honey is a great immunity booster and it nourishes the body from inside, providing essential nutrients. It is widely used as a significant ingredient to treat ailments during winters and it also works wonders as a natural moisturizer, among other efficacies. The launch of our Honey hence goes in-line with the core values of Hamdard.
In this crowded market place how your brand is different and what has been the market response?
We understand that Honey is a very competitive market but the hallmark of our product is that it comes from the strong heritage of brand Hamdard. Through our lineage of providing the best of nature to our discerning consumers, we hope to make rapid inroads in this category. The product, as we speak is gaining distribution in all channels of sales. The initial response to the product has been fantastic, with high demands coming from UP, Bihar and some regions of Rajasthan as well. We are happy that our traders and consumers are very welcoming of ‘Hamdard Honey’. We expect exponential growth once our promotions and awareness campaigns become live across all significant markets.
In this pandemic e-commerce sites have flourished, is the brand available with major e-commerce sites?
The product is readily available with all major e-commerce platforms. We understand that with the changing times home delivery has become a necessity and we ensure that our product is available through all channels to the consumer.
How much growth is expected in this category and what is the revenue model?
The first year we are focussed towards creating the right distribution footprint, reaching out to all the essential markets in Tier – I, II and III cities. Another imperative task at hand for us will be to increase awareness and off take. We are expecting around Rs 25-30 CR. of revenue from Hamdard Honey in the first year with double-digit growths of the product consistently. The revenue model is to be available in all channels of sales, and also launch the honey in our overseas markets.
In the new normal what would be the strategy and what will be the brand communication?
The marketing strategy will be simple. Create awareness, and drive trials and consumption. Our entire consumer-focussed campaigns, be it in the digital or physical space will focus on these aspects in the launch and growth phase. While we understand the logistical challenges Covid brought in, we will continue to focus on engaging our consumers, be it the loyalists of Hamdard, or the new consumers who will adopt our offerings.
Any innovative ways to market the brand, and what is the media mix to reach your TG?
The brand journey will be a function of creating awareness, trials and adoption. For this, the small 50g pack is working well, where consumers are picking it up for trials. The larger packs are on consumer promotions, which ensure that the consumers and trade see value in adopting the brand. We have kept a mix of all media i.e., print, radio, television as well as digital and social media in our plans. A total budget of Rs. 15 CR. has been allocated to various platforms for engaging consumers and inducing awareness and trials.
The lockdown had affected everybody, how did you keep the supply and distribution channel running?
During the initial period of Covid-19 pandemic we faced some disruptions in our production as well as our supply-distribution system. But we quickly turned around the situation to ensure efficient supply of raw and packaging material and started production as per the safety norms set by the government. We have committed teams across all functions working 24X7 to ensure smooth execution. Our aim during this lockdown had been to ensure production, sales and supply chain efficiencies to be able to deliver our products across all markets.