Sunday 5 January 2014

Bangalore and the millenium soap

This is the most expensive soap manufactured in India and it is easily ten to twelve times more expensive that the costliest soaps already available on the shelves  in the country.
The soap is being manufactured by a Karnataka Government public sector enterprise which was established almost a hundred years ago by the then Maharaja of Mysore, Nalwadi Krishnaraja Wodeyar.
Already known for its sandal soap, this soap has quickly emerged as the most premium toilet soap in India. It is manufactured by the makers of the well-known Mysore Sandal Soap.
Launched on  January 25, 2012, it is called Mysore Sandal Millennium and it is priced at Rs 720 per cake of 150 grams. Manufactured by Karnataka Soaps and Detergents Limited (KS & DL), it is the first most expensive soap manufactured and sold in India.
As of now, these soaps are available through outlets in star hotels, hyper malls, super bazaars, lifestyle stores and other major departmental stores.
The Millennium soap is produced from exclusive vegetable oil mixed with special conditioners, moisturisers, Vitamin-E, Jajoba-Mimosa and natural Sandalwood oil.
The pure Sandalwood oil contains anti-ageing properties that help to retain the skin's glow. Another product, Hydrolysed Milk Protein, which is high in amino acid, helps the skin in hydration and maintain its elasticity. The soap also contains Glycerine, which helps to prevent skin dehydration and maintain even structure.
The Millenium is pegged to make a mark in the premium segment and it is strange but true that KS and DL is the only company in India, public or private, to manufacture and dell soaps for the premium segment.   
In India, the toilet soap market ca be broadly categorized into four price segments — premium, popular, discount and economy. KS & DL has several soaps in the premium soap category which is estimated at over 15 per cent of the total soap market in India at about Rs 10,000 crore. Some of the other soaps in the premium category include Dove which is the next most expensive soap after Mysore Sandal Gold, Vivel and Lux.
KS and DL is a 91-year old PSU, with a turnover today of Rs 200 crore and it is the only company that uses pure sandalwood oil for its soaps.
The Millenium soap has been tested in France and at the inhouse centre in the State-owned PSU. The soap is derived from pure vegetable oil base, added with conditioners, moisturisers, Vitamin E, Jajoba-Mimosa-Sunflower seed waxes, Shea-butter, almond oil, hydrolysed milk protein and stabilising agents. It is then enriched with natural and pure Mysore sandalwood oil based fragrance to which is added natural essential oils Vetivert, Guaicwood, Patchouli, Geranium, Petitgrain, Orange, Cedarwood, Palmrosa, clove among others.
The soap, which is manufactured in the Bangalore plant, contains three per cent pure sandalwood oil. The current value of  one litre of sandalwood oil in India is a little more than Rs. 2 lakhs. It is this that adds to the high cost of the soap.
The company incurs an expenditure of Rs 7 lakhs to Rs. 8 lakhs per tonne for manufacturing the Millenium soap. It did two years of research to develop the soap which was tested for dermatological studies in India and Paris.
Interestingly, the first sandal soap from the stables of this company was manufactured way back in 1918 and since then the Mysore sandal soap had made a name for itself not only in India but abroad too.
It was the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) that helped the company extract oil from sandal logs. Here, we should remember the then Dewan, Sir M. Visveshwaraiah, who played a role in establishing the company and interacting with the IISC in helping it refine the process of extraction of oil from sandal wood.
The Indian Soap industry today includes 700 companies with combined annual revenue of about $17 billion with the top 50 companies holding almost 90 per cent of the market.
The Indian soap Industry volume is pegged at Rs 5000 crore and it is growing. India today is one of the largest producers of soaps in the world. However, the per capita consumption of toilet/ bathing soap in India is just 800 gms, whereas it is 6.5 kgs in U.S.A., 4 kgs in China, 1.1 kgs in Brazil and 2.5 kgs. in Indonesia.
Soaps form the largest portion of the FMCG (Fast moving Consumer Goods) market with bathing and toilet soaps contributing around 30 per cent of the soap market.

In India, soaps are available in five million retail stores, out of which, 3.75 million are in the rural areas. As 70 per cent of India’s population resides in the rural areas, 50 per cent of the soaps are sold in the rural markets.

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