31 Dec 2017
3 min read
Last July, Dabur Nepal Pvt Ltd celebrated its 25th anniversary in Nepal. Over those 25 years, Dabur has managed to established itself as one of the most recognisable FMCG brands in the country. Dabur is well-known for keeping its operations wholly domestic, with 95 per cent of its sales in Nepal. The company is the largest exporter of juice to India, and also has a reputation for producing health-friendly products. “We’re dedicated to the health and well-being of our customers,” says Upendra Pradhan, Head of Sales and Marketing at Dabur Nepal. “Because consumers have become more and more concerned about their personal care, we have developed products that add value to their health and life.”
In this interview with VMAG’s Abhinav Amatya, Pradhan talks about how Dabur Nepal has been striving to provide quality service to its customers and helping them lead healthier lives.
Products on offer
The majority of our business in Nepal comes from beverage sale, particularly from Real, Activ and Burst. Activ is targeted towards the more health-conscious consumers who’re concerned about their sugar intake. It’s a range of unsweetened juices that contain no added sugar, colour or preservatives. It’s one of our premium products, and therefore has a smaller market segment compared to our other beverages. Real, on the other hand, is the more popular product. Consumers choose Real because it offers both health benefits and good taste. Burst is the latest addition, and it’s targetted at consumers who are looking for more affordable alternatives in the beverage market. Burst was launched to cater to those consumers who want to shift to healthier fruit juices from sugary, carbonated drinks, but can’t exactly afford the super-healthy fruit juices in the long run.
Dabur Nepal also offers health supplements (Chyawanprash, Glucose and Honey), hair-care products (Aamla Hair Oil, PROstyle and Vatika Shampoo), oral-care products (Red Toothpaste, Red Gel), skincare products (Gulabari Rose Water and Fem Facial), home-care products (Odonil, Odomos and Sanifresh) and other ayurvedic items.
What sets Dabur Nepal apart
Dabur has always differentiated itself from its competitiors through the quality we have maintained over the years, and we will obviously continue to maintain that standard. We do not take unnecessary risks or deviate from the standardised methods when it comes to our processes, which include steps such as procurement, manufacturing and storage. For example, we always incubate our juice products for at least a week; we do not disrupt this step even if we feel that the incubation process is over before the given time, because we strictly follow our quality-assurance norms state. We do, however, face certain difficulties in our endeavour to maintain quality. Our country lacks proper transportation infrastructure, which at times can be a major challenge when procuring raw materials and distributing our products. The road conditions only make matters worse, as bad roads can lengthen the time taken to deliver raw materials, which can perish if not delivered on time; it’s equally challenging when we have to deliver products to distributors and retailers. Despite these difficulties, I feel we’ve still been able to uphold the quality of our products, and that’s what I think differentiates us from our competitors.
Our juice-manufacturing plants are equipped with high-tech machinery from Tetra Pak, which is the world's leading food processing and packaging solutions company. Its six layers of packaging prevent the ingredients from getting contaminated.
Similarly, our juice-manufacturing process follows stringent quality protocols and food-safety norms as per the latest international protocols. All our staff comply with preventive maintenance measures, which ensure that none of our products have been contaminated or adulterated in any way. Moreover, our plants are audited every year by two international groups that monitor the safety and quality of our manufacturing process. These audits evaluate every part of the manufacturing process, including procurement and storage of ingredients, as well as materials used for packaging.
One of the challenges that we have faced is explaining to our customers the difference in the prices of our products. For most people, any beverage that has a fruit flavour is considered a juice, when in fact, the non-carbonated beverage segment can be categorised into juice, nectar and drinks. Only those drinks that contain fruit-pulp content of up to 30 per cent fall under the juice category. The ones that have pulp content of around 20 per cent are called nectars and those with less than 15 per cent pulp content are called drinks. Among the beverages that we offer, Activ, Real and Burst fall under the categories of juice, nectar and drinks, respectively, with Real offering both juice and nectar.
It’s because of this reason that Activ and Real cost more than Burst, and the challenge lies in explaining this difference to the consumers.
Another challenge for us has to do with the lack of data regarding media effectiveness. There are numerous studies that provide all sorts of data about the reach and impact of various media platforms. However, these studies are less of the syndicated kind (which includes research that is independently conducted, published and sold by a market research firm). For example, we do not have a system of Television Rating Point (TRP) in Nepal, so we do not know which channels and which television programmes are watched more by consumers. This lack of data creates a situation where we have to choose a platform for our promotion and advertisements without knowing how effective they will be.
Over the years, most of our plants have become heavily automated. This has allowed us to produce better quality products at faster rates and with fewer errors than would have been possible had we been dependent on manpower. Each year, we’re incorporating new technology into our business. Today, we need no more than a handful of people to run the machines and carry out the numerous steps involved in the manufacturing process. So, the goal for now is to further mechanise our business. We are on a continuous journey of improving our operations and providing quality products to our consumers.