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Business News/ News / India/  All roads lead to Ayodhya, and FMCG firms are ready to go

All roads lead to Ayodhya, and FMCG firms are ready to go

Firms ramp up marketing campaigns, get ready with new products

Companies said they are expecting greater religious tourism in Ayodhya, which has seen an infrastructure upgrade in recent years with a swanky new airport and wider roads. (Ishant )Premium
Companies said they are expecting greater religious tourism in Ayodhya, which has seen an infrastructure upgrade in recent years with a swanky new airport and wider roads. (Ishant )

New Delhi: Makers of packaged foods and beverages are ramping up supplies of their products in Ayodhya, as well as activating on-ground marketing campaigns, to capitalize on the surge in footfall the pilgrim town of north India is expected to see ahead of the temple inauguration on 22 January.

Bottled water brand Bisleri is augmenting supplies across all road routes leading to the city as well as key consumption centres in Ayodhya. The company is also setting up a plant in the city that is set to become operational over the next few months. “We are ensuring responsible consumption and disposal of used plastic in collaboration with municipal authorities. We have a new plant coming up in Ayodhya which will be operational in a few months," said Angelo George, CEO, Bisleri International.

The seven-day religious rituals for the Ayodhya Ram Temple ‘Pran Pratistha’ ceremony that commenced on 16 January and will continue till 22 January is expected to draw huge crowds. Prime minister Narendra Modi is expected to inaugurate the temple next week—that is likely to draw lakhs of daily visitors by the end of the year. Companies said they are expecting greater religious tourism in the city—that has seen an infrastructure upgrade in recent years with a swanky new airport and wider roads.

Makers of packaged goods use such occasions to sample new products as well as generate trials for existing brands. These events also translate into high footfalls, giving brands an opportunity to drive on-ground brand activations.

Packaged foods maker Parle Products said the days leading up to the 22 January inauguration will be “massive".

“We have significantly increased distribution across biscuits, confectionery and snacks across touch-points. Not just in Ayodhya, but even in nearby towns and cities. The company is also sampling brands across its portfolio," said Krishnarao Buddha, senior category head, Parle Products.

Buddha equated the intensity of the event to the Kumbh Mela, among the largest religious congregations seen in India, though the latter stretches over a longer duration and sees a more consistent flow of pilgrims. Parle has also been sponsoring the “Ayodhya ki Ram Leela" a two-hour play that stretches over 10 days over the last two years.

Homegrown fast moving consumer goods company Dabur India is ramping up distribution of its products in the city expecting a surge in demand for daily essentials. The company is also investing in marketing activities on-ground such as setting up of experience zones in the city for its brands like Real juices, Dabur Amla hair oil and Dabur Vedic Tea, said Mohit Malhotra, CEO, Dabur India Ltd. Dabur has tied up with dhabas and eateries on the Lucknow, Gorakhpur and Varanasi highways leading up to Ayodhya. Dabur is branding these dhabas with key brands like Hajmola and Real, besides undertaking extensive sampling of its product range here, said a company spokesperson.

Beverage maker Coca-Cola and its bottling partners in the state, is increasing the availability of vending machines in the area and working with retailers to stock up its low unit packs.

Nearly 50 reverse vending machines have been placed in the city with additional infrastructure support to ensure 24X7 service to retailers. The focus is also on having an affordable range of 10 and 20 beverages, said a spokesperson.

Local kiranas in the city are stocking up puja samagri including cotton wicks, ghee and oil, diya, camphor, rice and wheat, honey among other things before January 22. Kirana owners are also stocking up packed sweets and chocolates, with 15% retailers anticipating increased sales during the auspicious occasion. The third-most stocked product at kirana stores in Ayodhya are chips and namkeenss, according to a survey by Kirana Club, a community of kirana owners. Cold drinks and water as well as personal care products such as hair oil and soaps are some of the other categories being stocked up by local stores in the city as well.

Reliance Consumer Products, the fast moving consumer products vertical of Reliance Retail, is ramping up distribution of its brands such as Independence bottled water, Campa fizzy drinks as well as snacking brand Alan’s Bugles to move deeper into the Uttar Pradesh market.


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Suneera Tandon
Suneera Tandon is a New Delhi based reporter covering consumer goods for Mint. Suneera reports on fast moving consumer goods makers, retailers as well as other consumer-facing businesses such as restaurants and malls. She is deeply interested in what consumers across urban and rural India buy, wear and eat. Suneera holds a masters degree in English Literature from the University of Delhi.
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Published: 17 Jan 2024, 11:25 PM IST
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