Home >News >India >Covid-19 impact: Sanitiser market sees more entrants

NEW DELHI: The exponential surge in demand for hand sanitizers in view of Covid-19 outbreak has led to several companies -- small and large -- manufacturing and selling sanitiers.

Now, fast moving consumer goods companies aside, liquor companies and sugar mills have have stepped in offering to use their supply of extra neutral alcohol (ENA) -- a key raw material derived from sugar molasses and grain, and used to make sanitizers -- to make bottles of sanitizers amid a growing need for the product.

Jagatjit Industries that makes liquor brands such as Aristocrat whisky said it will start commercial production of sanitizers by early next week. “...we started supplying the Punjab govt 5000 litres of sanitizers as part of a CSR initiative. We are starting commercial production from Tuesday, but are facing major challenges in backward integration of supply chain and border movement," Roshni Jaiswal, promoter, and chief restructuring officer, Jagatjit Industries said.

On Monday, Chennai-based packaged consumer goods company CavinKare launched hand sanitizers under its popular personal care brands – CHIK, Nyle, and Raaga. These sanitizers, such as CHIK will be priced at Rs1 for a sachet. "The concept of launching the sanitizer in a sachet as well and making them available in a typical FMCG Kirana outlet is an ideal step to ensure safety of the masses at this crucial time," said CK Ranganathan, chairman and managing director, CavinKare Pvt. Ltd.

Jubilant Life Sciences Limited, a Jubilant Bhartia Group company, on Friday announced that its research and development team has developed formulation for hand sanitizer using ethanol produced at its plants. "Jubilant Life Sciences have started supplying, free of cost, these hand sanitizers to governments both at the national and the state level," the company said in a statement.

Spirits company Diageo India that makes Smirnoff Vodka, and Johny Walker whiskey said it will produce around 300,000 litres of bulk hand sanitiser across 15 manufacturing units for use by public healthcare workers in India. It will also donate 500,000 litres ENA to the sanitiser industry to enable the production of more than two million units (250 ml each) of hand sanitisers.

However, these will not be available for commercial sales.

Last week, Radico Khaitan that makes 8 pm whisky and Magic Moments Vodka said it will expand the use of Extra Neutral Alchohol (ENA) at its mother distillery in Rampur into the production of hand sanitizer. The company, that had then applied for necessary permissions and chalked out a distribution plan, has now received due permission to start manufacturing these products.

The product branded 8PM Extra Strong Hand Sanitizer will be distributed for free to government offices and hospitals in and around Rampur. For commercial sales, its pricing decided over the next few days.

Roughly 40 sugar mills in the western state of Maharashtra are expected to apply for licenses to make sanitizers, according to news report in The Financial Express newspaper. The move follows the Indian government's plea asking sugar mills to manufacturer sanitizers.

Seeing a surge in demand, the Indian government had pronounced hand sanitizers and masks as essential commodities in March to ensure steady availability, and prevent the hoarding and black marketing of such products.

Earlier in March, the government also placed price caps on sanitizers to make them more affordable and prevent companies and retailers from profiteering from them. Prices of alcohols used in manufacturing of hand sanitizers have also been capped.

In response to that several companies slashed prices of their sanitizer brands.

HUL that makes Libuoy sanitizers said it is reducing the prices of Lifebuoy sanitizers, Lifebuoy liquid hand wash and Domex floor cleaners by 15%. GCPL that makes the Protekt brand of sanitizers slashed prices of its 50 ml pack from 75 to 25. ITC too followed suit with price reductions.

On Tuesday, ITC Ltd said it has commenced production of Savlon sanitizers at its newly commissioned perfume manufacturing facility in Himachal Pradesh as it steps up efforts to meet the growing demand for hygiene products in the country. This will help produce an additional 1,25,000 liters of Savlon hand sanitizers, the company said.

Earlier this month, packaged consumer goods major Dabur India Ltd announced the launch of a hand sanitizer—Dabur Sanitize—that will be initially available across e-commerce platforms. The company will subsequently extend the brand to modern retail and offline stores over the next few days.

Sales of the hand sanitizers grew 53% in the month of February from a year ago period, market researcher Nielsen said in its Covid-19 impact on consumption behavior presentation on Thursday.

Nielsen said in all, hygiene categories showed significant growth in February. This was especially true for sales of such products on e-commerce that witnessed over 1400% jump in sanitizers orders between February 2020, and the first two weeks of March.

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