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Agarbatti industry is showing constant growth over the two years of pandemic

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Hari Darshan is one of the oldest manufacturers of incense and spiritual products. It has become a household name by offering more than 300 varieties of incense products in different fragrance such as sandal, floral, oriental, premium, woody, cosmetic et al. Hari Darshan started in a small manufacturing facility in New Delhi in the 1960s and the company started selling dhoop and agarbathies. The brand Hari Darshan consolidated and spread its wings under Jetha Nand Nagdev. The brand expanded its presence from one state to the next, eventually covering the entire country. Hari Darshan now has one of the industry’s largest incense and related product manufacturing and processing facilities, as well as logistics across India. Currently, the company manufactures incense products worth ₹300 crores annually from its units in Delhi NCR, Bangalore and Himachal Pradesh. Under the fourth generation entrepreneur, Goldy Nagdev, Managing Director, Hari darshan has achieved growth and has transformed its family business to a professionally managed company. Financial Express Online caught up with Goldy Nagdev to discuss the incense business, impact of Covid-19 and more. Excerpts:

How has the perception of the Incense and Agarbatti industry changed from before?

The most significant change in the incense industry is it’s evolution from a cottage industry to a pure FMCG in the last few years. Regional and National players have understood the importance of distribution and logistics to ensure availability and fuel consumption.  The more organised the industry gets, the stronger it shall be and faster it will grow. 

The largest incense stick manufacturer in India sees potential in the puja products industry during these unprecedented times?

Well the potential of Puja products has always been there. Unprecedented times like pandemic expose the gap in supply chain. The businesses that have been able to manage their production and logistics in a pandemic scenario have benefited and grown their customer base.  To add to this, there is a movement towards embracing our culture, traditions and rituals which in turn have pushed the demand for Puja products.

Do you see any development for the incense industry in the Union Budget 2022?

Well while there wasn’t any specific or significant  directive towards the incense industry in the budget 2022, I believe that the overall budget enforced stability and consistency besides being progressive in approach.

How much the industry has suffered in the new age today?

Well while these are tough times and can cause trauma to any industry, I’d say the incense industry backed by regular and growing consumption has more or less sailed through unaffected. There could be individual cases who faced the heat but on an average it was a step forward. 

From an alternate stand point,  new age also equates to new additional consumers and households. The industry also benefits from new uses like aromatherapy, meditation, yoga and freshener. 

Goldy Nagdev, Managing Director, Hari darshan

Usage of Agarbatti has increased since the pandemic, how much is the percentage?

There has been a constant 10% plus growth over the two years of pandemic.

There is a significant change in trend where consumers are relying on branded products and the market share is increasing, what is your conception of this?

I believe that branded products and organised sectors are the catalyst for not just the industry but also the economy as they contribute to the development of the country through taxation and employment. Consumer preferring branded products be it regional or national boosts this growth. 

The rising demand for Incense Sticks in the Wellness and Meditation industry?

Aromatherapy is an ages old science that has proven wellness and healing through aromas and essential oils. In this era of stress, a humble incense stick offers moments of bliss. People have realised that a calm & peaceful mind is an essential for good health. They are increasingly adopting practices like meditation and yoga and incense is a beautiful companion in this quest. 

Women in rural communities are getting financial liberation in the agarbatti industry. How?

Women  & women self help groups have been supported by the incense industry for decades. This industry has been an aggressive and supportive employer of women. Now women entrepreneurship is also being encouraged and envisioned. At Hari Darshan majority of our employees are women, from the manufacturing floor to the corporate boardroom, the women at Hari Darshan have been at the forefront of growth.

Restriction on the imports by the government has boosted the agarbatti industry in India?

There are contradictory views to this. Imports were stopped suddenly which impacted manufacturing and created a gap in supply chain. At the same time ancillary units were quick to adapt and support locally manufactured and sourced raw material that resulted in enterprise development and employment generation.

How Indian Agarbatti industry is becoming ‘Atma Nirbhar’?

An industry is “atma nirbhar” when it has complete grip on the journey from production to consumption. Today the incense industry has an option to source all its raw material locally. The consumption and consumer base in India has been growing at a steady pace. These two aspects bring longevity  and self reliance to the industry.

Back to the Roots factor has driven a much younger audience and millennials to use incense products regularly hence boosting the consumer base.

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