Bengaluru: Patanjali is already a ₹ 2,000 crore brand, but Baba Ramdev is not finished with it yet. The yoga guru who created the popular Ayurvedic products brand wants to expand capacity, and push back multinationals as he fights for what he calls “economic independence".
Ramdev, who calls for taking pride in Ayurveda and domestic products, also has words of caution for other spiritual gurus building large consumer goods brands. He was in Bengaluru on Friday to address followers at a yoga camp. Translated excerpts from an interview:
Do you plan to add capacity with more mega food parks?
Yes, there are plans to add five food parks—one in Madhya Pradesh and another one in Maharashtra have been decided upon. These are of huge capacity. More are underway. We have plans to open food parks in four or five locations, where investments will be very, very big.
Will we see any collaboration on the food parks like you did on retail with Future Group?
No, Patanjali will do it on its own.
How will that help your capacity?
The plants will help with value addition of food—the idea is to do away with the middlemen involved in procurement of agriculture produce from the farmers directly. Along with this, it will help us increase the supply of raw material for herbal, cosmetic, natural products—we plan to grow herbs locally.
For instance, we have planned to sell 100 tonnes of aloe vera juice per day, up from 40-50 tonnes currently. So farming of aloe vera will go up considerably—this will be done in a year’s time.
Similarly, we are anticipating amla requirement to go up. I’m only giving you estimates for two-three products; similarly, we will need more produce for herbs like tulsi, ashwagandha and other such herbs for hundreds of other products that we sell. I will not disclose my entire strategy for the coming years, but sharing numbers just to give you an idea.
There is a lot of talk about how Patanjali products have impacted business at large multinational corporations such as Colgate Ltd and Hindustan Unilever. How does it feel?
See, I always hoped that this country would take pride in its own being. While we have received political independence, there is still a fight for economic independence. We have two constraints in this country—ideological dependence and poverty, and economy dependence and poverty. While we’ve attained political freedom, we still have to fight for economic independence. We want to take pride in our country, in our purity, charity, patriotism... This is our goal, vision, and this is our spirit. This is the fight for economic independence.
After your success, other spiritual and yoga gurus have entered the market with branded products. Do you view them as competition?
We want everyone to win, we don’t want to take over Indian companies—they are not my competition, we all must work together. And whoever is working should work carefully. I don’t consider them competitors—they are most welcome, but they should keep a few things in mind. First, manufacturing unit should be owned by them. Second, whoever wants to enter the category, should have studied about Ayurveda—it helps build trust. Third, these (products) are all an outcome of years of scientific research—they should focus on that.
You spoke of opening universities; so you are going to carry forward your yoga brand to education?
I’m not a brand. The brand is not my ultimate goal, the brand is my by-product. But, yes we have plans to open a university in every state, where students can train in Vedic and modern studies.