29 Dec 2016 14:54 IST

Patanjali’s next big vertical take-off – edible oil

Patanjali Refined eyes sales of ₹20,000 crore in three years

Unfazed by demonetisation, Baba Ramdev’s Patanjali Ayurved is readying to oil into a new vertical at the start of the New Year.

Come January 5, coinciding with the 22nd birth anniversary of Ramdev’s yoga foundation, Patanjali will be launching seven varieties of edible oil – rice bran, groundnut, soyabean, sunflower, sesame, canola and virgin coconut oil. It already has a play in mustard oil.

Isn’t the yoga guru worried about launching at a time when demonetisation is impacting retail cash tills? “Not at all,” says Ramdev, disclosing that edible oil where there is a big supply-demand gap will be a big vertical for Patanjali, and it will ride on the health card.

“All the oils will be physically processed – you can call them virgin oils - with no chemicals involved,” he says.

Patanjali Refined, as the oil vertical is being called is eyeing sales of ₹20,000 crore in three years time, and will be one of the big contributors to the target of ₹50,000 crore in 2020 that the company has set itself.

The total market size of edible oil in India is around ₹1,25,000 crore currently (roughly 50 per cent is organised sector) and its growing at 7-8 per cent annually.

Production units have been taken on lease, he says, but own manufacturing units will come up too. Patanjali Refined will be rolled out nationally across one million retail touch-points.

Asked about reports that Patanjali’s retail sales have been hit hard by demonetisation, Ramdev counters that it’s natural to be impacted.

“Yes, our business has suffered some places, but some places it has surged too,” he claims.

According to him, 30 per cent of Patanjali sales are through its own stores which are equipped with card readers and digital payment systems.

Here sales have risen 10 per cent in the wake of demonetisation, he says. Elsewhere they are down 10 per cent, he says, but points out that volunteers from his Bharat Swabhiman Trust are trying to help kirana store owners convert to digital payment methods.

Ramdev is not his usual candid self on demonetisation, framing his statements carefully but when pressed hard, he admits that its implementation has led to people facing a lot of difficulties.

“I don’t think the difficulties will end soon, but I hope it will reduce,” he says.

He adds, “The results of the exercise, and whether the objectives have been fulfilled should be disclosed to the nation. The objectives are war on black money, ending corruption and bringing in economic transparency”.

Ab Notebandhi ka daromadar taxmen ke upar hai jinka kaam January 1 se shuru hoga. (The onus is now on taxmen). They should not go after the poor, and not leave out the corrupt,” he says.

Black money he feels will not be fully addressed unless three more things are done – make it mandatory to disclose source of FDI; abolish banking secrecy laws and put a stop to participatory and promissory notes.