Is Rat the triumph behind Parachute being India’s favorite hair oil? - MENA startups, innovation, and tech news


Is Rat the triumph behind Parachute being India’s favorite hair oil?

Is Rat the triumph behind Parachute being India’s favorite hair oil?

I think the biggest success of parachute is through innovations, and that happened in a category like a coconut oil, where there are very limited opportunities for innovation. Harsh Mariwala Yes, you have heard it right! For achieving great heights, you need not do great things but do the small things in a great manner. The story behind everyone’s favorite Parachute hair oil resonates well with the saying. The oil that has followed the legacy of passing from grandmother to mother and then the daughter is now used by everyone irrespective of all genders and that’s what makes it special. Today we will be looking at an inspirational story behind the success of parachute oil. Below is the account and let’s read the story of parachute oil!

The good old days

Back in those days, hair-oiling was a tradition of bonding that’s been passed down from generation to generation. The summers in the Indian subcontinent were marked by our grandma coming up with hair oils while telling us ancient fables. It was haircare and Storytime. A mother would never think of a low-quality oil for her kid and that’s the very reason why Parachute has a dominant market share over the years. And this has been a part of our life, whether it is the 90s or early millenniums. This was the oil for every common household.

The backdrop of how parachute bottles came into existence

Initially, when Harsh Mariwala joined Bombay Oil, the coconut oil was sold in big tins of 15L under the name of Parachute in the bulk of the amount. Selling it in south Bombay and the posh localities of New Delhi. Shortly, Harsh came to know about a company when he heard some of his uncles talking about a Calcutta-based company that was selling coconut oil in smaller packages under the brand of Shalimar and making a higher margin than Bombay Oil. He also heard of distributors in Nagpur and the Vidarbha region who were selling smaller packages of Parachute coconut oil.

As Nagpur was closer than Calcutta so, he first visited the Nagpur market. After reaching the said It was an eye-opener for me. Since I was the first member of the family to go on a market visit, it was a revelation for the family as well. The Nagpur visit was followed by a visit to Calcutta and here, too, Harsh was attracted by the retail opportunity that was served in the market for Parachute. Parachute oil was seen as a superior product as it is rich in coconut aroma. In terms of simplicity and freshness, it was better than the other oils. However, Bombay Oil had put great endeavor into pushing the 15- liter tins. The clever wholesalers of Nagpur and Vidarbha, on the other hand, knew the power of the Parachute brand.

Irrespective of all the criticism faced by Harsh, he was focused on creating a consumer brand for the retail segment. He started investing in marketing campaigns & branding of Parachute to create brand recall for retail consumers. Since Harsh wanted to see the success of the smaller packs himself and it was a great opportunity in selling it in small packing, therefore, he gave a try to small packaging. But with a new opportunity comes new challenges as well. Want to know the challenges faced by him then stick by the article to the end.


The challenge possessed by Rats

Harsh wanted Parachute to be a superior brand with alluring packaging. Therefore, he decided to switch to small plastic bottles instead of tin cans as the plastic was pocket-friendly. But when the Parachute team surveyed the distributors to check the plastic packaging. Most of the distributors condemn the idea. They recalled an incident old as the late 60s when someone had tried to launch coconut oil in plastic bottles. And rats were a big reason to worry during those times as rats bite the bottle with their teeth. After all, they loved nothing more than an oil with a coconut smell. And that’s why no one ever tried it for the next 20 years. Harsh’s team dig deeper into the incident and found out that the earlier bottles were square.

Hence, it was easy for rats to get a grip over the bottles. Harsh’s team got to work and created round bottles of premium quality to ensure rats could not get hold of the bottles When they presented the model piece to the distributors, they were still reluctant. But to win the confidence of the distributors, the Parachute team experimented and kept 8-10 bottles of Parachute with as many rats possible inside a cage for 2 days. Not a single sign of damage was seen. With this, they recorded the experiment & shared the video with the sales team to onboard distributors.

Grabbing the Market Share
Parachute has a 60% market share. It contributes more than 40% of the sales of Marico Ltd. Parachute captured 50% of the market share in the coconut oil market in just a few years. But that is not the end! With a huge market share comes a huge cost to maintain the market. The cost of the whole process and extraction of copra is quite high. But later in 2018, the copra prices started to reduce and the profit margins went up. Last year their margins got a boost in Q1 profits through the decreasing prices of copra.

Moreover, it also had to deal with the problems of imitators in the market. These imitators also ate the profits of Marico. They had to deal with the copycats by getting expensive molds which were difficult for imitators to imitate. The plastic containers were made for all seasons and were tamper-proof with flip-flop packaging for ensuring purity. For the rural areas, the company also introduced oils in sachets and smaller quantities which also disrupted the loose oil market.

How Did Coconut Oil Get its Name- Parachute?

Another question that comes to one’s mind is: why did coconut oil get the name Parachute It was Harsh Mariwala's uncle who gave the product its name. During the Indo-Pak and Indo-China wars of the 1960s, the parachute troops used to be covered in the media press very often. And this was enough for the name to survive for as long as the company wanted. So, can we conclude the article by giving the honor to those rats for the grand success of parachute hair oil hmm?

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