Home / Industry / Retail /  Star Bazaar expects herbal, all-natural products to grow significantly

Bengaluru: Star Bazaar, a chain of hypermarkets and supermarkets run by Trent Hypermarket Pvt. Ltd, expects all-natural and herbal products to become a significant category, a company executive said.

Trent Hypermarket is a joint venture of Tata Group company Trent Ltd and UK-based Tesco Plc which operates the Star Bazaar, Star Market and Star Daily retail businesses. The firm currently stocks herbal and organic products from companies such as Patanjali Ayurved Ltd, Sri Sri Ayurveda Trust, Hindustan Unilever Ltd (HUL) and Dabur India Ltd.

“Over the last few years, customers have been actively seeking healthier products to either complement the lifestyles that they lead or the habits they have. That trend has been, of course, originally fuelled by Patanjali but now we see a lot of players coming into it," Star hyper- and supermarket chain’s director of commercial and marketing Uday Varma said.

In 2016, many personal care firms launched multiple products with the herbal or natural tag, a trend that is expected to continue. What started as a step by large fast moving consumer goods companies to take on Patanjali has now become a key theme for the industry.

“Now, all consumer goods companies have brought ayurveda and natural to the centrestage and have acknowledged the fact that natural is a global trend which one should embrace and will grow faster than other categories," analysts at Edelweiss Securities wrote in a research report dated 27 April.

Varma was in Bengaluru on Wednesday to launch Star’s ‘Closer to Nature’ initiative, a two-month event where it will create a separate herbal and organics section to raise awareness about such products.

The share of herbal or healthier versions of products in Star’s overall portfolio ranges between 5% and 20%. It accounts for about 15% of the overall portfolio in toothpastes.

“This preference for healthier, ayurvedic and organic products straddle (all) economic strata of the society. In the West and other European countries, these kinds of products are at the premium end but not so in India. And because both Sri Sri and Patanjali are in the affordable mass end, everybody can afford it," Varma said.

Sri Sri Ayurveda Trust, with spiritual leader Sri Sri Sri Ravi Shankar at its helm, started by making healthcare products and moved into personal care and food from 2008. The brand is looking at increasing capacity to meet demand, its head of modern trade Ujjwal Sinha told Mint at the Bengaluru eventon Wednesday.

The chain plans to expand from 41 stores (of which 21 are in Bengaluru) to 200 over the next two to three years.

Trent Hypermarket – which runs Star Bazaars (hypermarkets), Star Markets (supermarkets) and Star Dailies (small, ‘express’ shopping outlets in less than 5,000 square feet of space) – plans to focus on Mumbai, Pune and Bengaluru to increase its retail footprint while eyeing an entry into the Hyderabad market.

Most of the new stores will be in the supermarket format and some in the hypermarket format, Varma said. “Retail is about building local scale. It doesn’t really help us if we have stores scattered all over the country. For us the first priority is to saturate the demand in these cities that we operate in before we look at tier II," he said

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