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Sri Sri Ayurveda to expand footprint

The runaway success of Patanjali as an FMCG brand has disrupted the market. And for established players like HUL , P&G and Dabur , there’s more competition coming. The latest threat comes from the Art of Living’s Sri Sri Ravishankar, reports Nayantara Rai.

Of late, Sri Sri Ayurveda has launched an advertising blitzkreig, which has led some to ask if Sri Sri is drawing inspiration from the spectacular popularity of Baba Ramdev’s Patanjali.

Brokerage firm Edelweiss certainly thinks so.

Its latest note says going by this “renewed aggression” across mass-media platforms, Sri Sri is going the Patanjali way, and plans to open 2,500 stores across the country by 2017.

“Sri Sri Ayurveda is planning to expand its presence in breakfast cereals, cookies, atta, oils, spices, ready-to-cook items and a range of organic staples for select markets,” says the Edelweiss note.

This is a sea change in strategy, because as of now, Sri Sri’s products are primarily sold through 600 franchise stores — divine shops set up at the spiritual guru’s gatherings — and through mobile apps that are available for both iOS and Android platforms.

Sri Sri is also learnt to be planning to add to this with tie-ups with modern brick & mortar retailers. And hopeful partners are already lining up.

At the recently-concluded World Culture Festival on the banks of the Yamuna, retail giant Future Group’s Kishore Biyani openly discussed his willingness to sell Sri Sri Ayurveda products at his stores, much like his arrangement with Baba Ramdev’s Patanjali.

Now in this regard, Patanjali may have a first-mover advantage but experts point to Sri Sri’s much larger following as a plausible gamechanger.

As Edelweiss puts it, Sri Sri has a worldwide following of 370 million people, while Patanjali’s captive audience includes around half-a-million followers on Twitter, which could overlap with the 6 million followers on Facebook, working out to around 70 million followers in all.

But Sri Sri may not be the only player to throw a spanner in the works for consumer goods manufacturers like HUL, Dabur and P&G.

After all, ayurveda products are moving like hot-cakes, and other spiritual giants like Guru Ram Rahim, Aurobindo Ashram, Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev may not be far behind in cashing in on their following.