Anti-Ayurveda cartel trying to damage Patanjali's reputation: Baba Ramdev

Anti-Ayurveda Cartel Accuses Patanjali Ayurved of False Claims: Baba Ramdev

Baba Ramdev, the founder of Patanjali Ayurved, a popular Ayurveda-based consumer goods company, has accused an unspecified group of corporations, pharmaceutical companies, intellectuals, and politicians of orchestrating a narrative against his brand. He asserted that the cartel wants to undermine Patanjali as it symbolizes nationalism and self-pride, which conflicts with their agenda.

Ramdev also contends that the criticism leveled against Patanjali’s research and development setup exceeds the size and sophistication of India’s largest consumer goods maker, Hindustan Unilever Ltd, and even the government’s Ayurvedic facility. He insists that opponents are attempting to harm the company’s reputation, the credibility of Ayurveda, and natural products.

Despite these challenges, Ramdev emphasized that Patanjali remains dedicated to objectives like adding investor value, increasing distribution and sales, research, innovation, and enhancing e-commerce. Premiumization will also be a major focus moving forward, he added.

Patanjali, known for igniting a surge in Ayurvedic and natural products in India around a decade ago, has faced scrutiny, intense competition, regulatory hurdles, and criticism over quality claims, among other challenges. The company is trying to reinvent its image as a professional-led organization, by appointing competent professionals for key roles.

In the fiscal year 2023-24, Patanjali reported a total revenue of Rs 31,721.35 crore from its operations, with the food and FMCG segment contributing approximately one-third of this total revenue (Rs 9,643.32 crore). Ramdev expressed pride in Patanjali’s success, stating, "We are here because of India’s consumers."

Recently, Patanjali Foods Ltd announced the acquisition of its sister firm Patanjali Ayurved Ltd’s home and personal care business for Rs 1,100 crore. Ramdev justified this move, stating it will bolster the company’s growth and allow investors, associates, and retail partners to expand.

Patanjali Ayurved currently has a 32.4% stake in Patanjali Foods, with the home and personal care business spanning four key segments – dental care, skin care, home care, and hair care. The transaction includes assets, liabilities, employees, distribution networks, contracts, licences, permits, consents, and approvals essential for the operation. The listed company will absorb all these aspects in the acquisition.

Regarding perceptions that Patanjali’s market share and brand image have eroded over the past two years amid quality concerns and stiff competition, the company’s CEO Sanjeev Asthana reported otherwise. He stated that Patanjali boasts a two-thirds market share within herbal toothpastes and is the country’s fourth-largest biscuit manufacturer. It also holds a leading position in the herbal skincare and homecare segments. Asthana concluded that 10 of the company’s brands are market leaders.

According to Asthana, the packaged consumer business has been expanding at a rate of 15-20% annually, while revenues have almost doubled over the last 3.5 years to Rs 31,000 crore. In 2019, Patanjali acquired Ruchi Soya for Rs 4,350 crore, and later renamed Ruchi Soya as Patanjali Foods Ltd, combining its portfolio of biscuits, honey, wheat flour, and Nutrela soya chunks. Last year, GQG Partners purchased 5.96% of Patanjali Foods for around Rs 2,400 crore.

Concerning a Supreme Court order requiring Patanjali to take down misleading ad claims, Ramdev mentioned that the matter was not related to quality concerns or any wrongdoing. He assured that the issue has since been resolved. The apex court ordered the company to stop misleading advertisements in November 2021 and warned that false or misleading claims could result in penalties of up to Rs 1 crore for each offense, following a petition filed by the Indian Medical Association.

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