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Soap makers reduce prices, increase production amid coronavirus outbreak

NEW DELHI: FMCG players like HUL, Godrej Consumer and Patanjali said that they are helping fight the COVID-19 outbreak by reducing the prices of soaps and hygiene products and ramping up production of these items.

Market leader Hindustan Unilever Ltd (HUL) on Friday committed Rs 100 crore to help in combating the coronavirus pandemic. “In the public interest, HUL is reducing the prices of Lifebuoy sanitizers, Lifebuoy Liquid handwash and Domex floor cleaners by 15 per cent.

We are commencing production of these reduced-priced products immediately and these will be available in the market in the next few weeks,” HUL said in a statement. “HUL has also ramped up the production of Lifebuoy sanitizers, Lifebuoy Handwash liquid and Domex Floor Cleaners and is committed to scaling it up even further in the coming weeks,” it added.

HUL will donate 2 crore pieces of Lifebuoy soaps in the next few months to the sections of the society which need it the most. HUL CMD Sanjiv Mehta said,” In a crisis like this Companies have a big role to play. We are working closely with the Governments and our partners to ensure that we overcome this global health crisis together.”

Haridwar-based Patanjali Ayurved said it has slashed prices of aloe vera and haldi-chandan soap variants by 12.5 per cent. “In the light of the common man’s problem, Swami Ramdev has decided to reduce the prices to help the common people battle against the coronavirus,” Patanjali spokesperson SK Tijarawla said.

Godrej said it has decided not to pass on raw material price hikes to consumers. “Pricing in the soaps category has seen significant deflation in 2019. However, in recent months, we have seen a 30 per cent increase in raw material inputs. We were planning for a price increase to partially cover for this spike in input costs,” Godrej Consumer Products CEO (India & SAARC) Sunil Kataria said.

“However, given the spread of COVID-19, we have decided to hold off this increase, currently.  It is our sincere endeavour to ensure that stocks are replenished across all channels so that our consumers can adopt better hygiene practices and stay safe,” Kataria added.

There are reports of panic buying among consumers and several online retailers like Grofers, BigBasket and offline retailers like Walmart and Metro Cash & Carry have witnessed a spike in sales of personal care and hygiene products.

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