The global outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic warranted a growing inclination toward personal hygiene and well-being. Education, uplifting incomes, increasing customer awareness about menstrual hygiene and personal care products such as sanitary napkins, tampons, baby diapers, and adult diapers, and the slow, long-term rise in the population of working women and better availability of low-cost products fueled the demand in the sanitary napkin market.
According to the latest data by Maximize Market Research, the Indian hygiene market is expected to rise from Rs 4,510 crore (approximately US$ 550 million) at a CAGR of 12.3 % (forecast period 2021-27) to Rs 10,159 crore (approximately US$ 1,238 million) in 2027.
Around 36% of Indian women use menstrual hygiene products according to the National Family Health Survey data, which leaves tremendous scope for the growth of this market segment. The last decade has witnessed several collaborations between the government, non-profit organizations, and hygiene brands to educate girls and women about the importance of menstrual hygiene.
Initiatives such as the Rashtriya Kishor Swasthya Karyakram, Eco Femme, Menstrual Hygiene Scheme, and My Pad My Right have held awareness camps for economically weaker sections. Distribution of feminine care products such as sanitary napkins and tampons by these collaborations has resulted in many school-going girls switching to menstrual care products from cloth pads adding to the segment’s growth.
The entry of several new players in the past decade has led to a price war along with product diversification have given users more choice. In Indian households, the woman is the decision maker when it comes to hygiene products whether it is baby diapers, sanitary napkins, or adult diapers. The eCommerce boom, coupled with the growth of hypermarkets and supermarkets, initiatives to improve the menstrual product supply chain and requests for eco-friendly personal hygiene products, are emerging trends expanding the Indian sanitary pads market size.
S & K Technologies – set to grow in the Indian hygiene industry
Soparkar & Kothari Technologies, with a 50,000 square meter plant in Changodar on the outskirts of Ahmedabad, is a women-led company set to capture the Indian hygiene market. The construction for the plant started right after the first week of the pandemic and it was commissioned in June 2021. The current production block of around 10,000 square meters includes the W&H Varex II blown film line with MDO, a 4-color gravure press, two slitters rewinders, QC, and R&D facilities. With a current annual capacity of more than 400 metric tons, S&K Tech is supplying breathable and non-breathable back sheet film to a number of clients, including Soothe Healthcare, Swara Baby Products, Kangaroo, K Enterprise, PAN Healthcare, Uniclan Healthcare, and MD Hygiene.
Shraddha Soparkar, a director of Soparkar & Kothari Technologies, states, “India is an upcoming hygiene market with a lot of brands coming in to make the finished products, be it sanitary napkins, baby diapers or adult diapers. From our experience, we always felt that premium brands require a premium raw material supplier. India is importing the majority of back sheet film or perforated top sheet laminates from outside. There are a few manufacturers of these films in India but the capacity is not sufficient nor is the quality sufficient as per the market. When we studied all these things, we realized that there is a potential for new manufacturers and we decided to go in for a W&H Varex II with MDO blown film line for the back sheet as the downgauging is easier with this technology. And that’s where the market is going to take us in the future as the government regulations, recyclability, and sustainability points are going to be addressed.”
The company plans to invest in a cast film line and update to an 8-color printing machine that can print on the lowest grammage film (11 gsm) available in the Indian market. “These installations will extend our capacity to 600 metric tons. Our immediate roadmap is to develop the outer packaging for the blown film line, in addition to breathable and non-breathable, printed and non-printed films and thus, develop a one-stop solution to the hygiene market,” adds Deval Soparkar, director of Soparkar & Kothari Technologies.
Vidisha Kothari, director of Soparkar & Kothari Technologies, concludes, “Quality needs to be appreciated by our customers. When you come up with such a sophisticated line, the cost of manufacturing doesn’t go down. If you want to make a premium product, you need premium suppliers and encourage such investments.
“As the hygiene products come into contact with the body, why would users want to compromise? As users, we must demand quality products from the brands, and this would encourage more research and development for these products. The government and users need to understand that these products are made from plastic and that some plastic products are useful in our life. We need to strike a balance between the environment and our hygiene.”