The Kathikhera unit was set up at a cost of around Rs 5 lakh. A low-cost, sanitary pad-making machine was sourced from Arunachalam Muruganantham of Coimbatore, who was the inspiration behind the 2018 film Padman. The unit produces 600 pads a day. Branded Fly, a packet of six costs Rs 25. “We distribute the pads through primary health centres, schools and shops,” says Saroj Sager of Action India.
Eco-friendly and affordable sanitary napkins are catching on in the country even as over the last few years, the issue of menstrual hygiene has been addressed by the government, NGOs and corporates, under their CSR activities. According to a report by market research firm IMARC Group, “Indian Sanitary Napkin Market: Industry Trends, Share, Size, Growth, Opportunity and Forecast 2018-2023”, the Indian sanitary napkin market is expected to reach a value of $631 million by 2023, growing at a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of more than 6% in 2018-2023 — up from $441 million in 2017.
“In the last few years, we have seen an increase in conversations around the importance of healthy menstrual hygiene across the board — be it the from the government, social organizations or from influencers in Bollywood,” says Chetna Soni, business leader, feminine care, P&G Indian subcontinent. Over 50% of the market is cornered by Procter & Gamble Hygiene & Health Care with the Whisper brand, according to a 2016 report by Motilal Oswal. Johnson & Johnson (Stayfree, Carefree), Kimberly Clark (Kotex) and Unicharm (Sofy) are the competitors.
Although in a smaller scale, there have been significant initiatives on eco-friendly sanitary products. Saathi — started in Ahmedabad in 2015 by Kristin Kagetsu, Tarun Bothra, Amrita Saigal and Grace Kane — makes ecofriendly and biodegradable sanitary pads using locally sourced banana fibre. “Besides spreading awareness on menstrual hygiene, we wanted to make our product biodegradable. The market for sustainable products is growing. We have a base of 6,000 users,” says Bothra. Saathi, which was bootstrapped by founders, is likely to break even this year.
At Mumbai-headquartered Aakar, fully compostable sanitary pads are made by women in mini factories. The pads, branded Anandi, are made at over 40 units across the country and in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, South Africa and Rwanda. “Our activities include educating women about different products in the market, not just ours,” says Jaydeep Mandal, who founded the organisation in 2013 and has raised a round of VC funding of Rs 1 crore.
Niine Sanitary Napkins, cofounded by Amar Tulsiyan, Gaurav Bathwal and Sharat Khemka in Gorakhpur, is looking to bridge the gap between women who don’t use sanitary pads and those who do. It has also launched a grassroots awareness programme and on International Women’s Day on March 8, the company is organising Run4Niine, a nationwide run to spread awareness on menstrual hygiene. Niine is expecting to complete Rs 80 crore investment in 2019 as part of its first phase of operations and is targeting sales of Rs 60 crore. There’s no stopping the period entrepreneurs.
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1 Comment on this Story
Khushboo Agarwal400 days ago
In my case, LAIQA is apt when we talk about organic pads. These are super comfortable and not prone to skin irritation. They are so soft you will feel like as if you are not wearing one. Plus, i don't have to worry about the flow as they take care of it by providing customize packs for the entire period flow.