The Ultra Blends range, which features products across the shampoo, conditioner, oil and cream segments, is popular among western markets: India will be the first market within Asia where it's sold, confirming the ever-rising appetite for naturals in the region.
The launch comes as leading Ayurveda domestic personal care brand, Patanjali’s, has been enjoying strong growth - the Economic Times of India notes it has become a Rs 5,000 crore company in less than ten years - and competitors (both Indian and international) move to tap into the trend.
Speaking to the Economic Times, L’Oréal has denied its strengthening of its herbal offering in India is a direct response to Patanjali’s rising popularity, or indeed to any of its competitors in the herbals and naturals arena.
Instead, the multinational asserts, it is a move in line with wider global trends and its international strategy.
“Patanjali's is not a threat or trigger for the launch, as aspiration for natural products is a global trend and not just in India. We need more such players to develop the market and Garnier will help penetrate the market further,” Jean-Christophe Letellier, MD for L’Oreal India, stated.
He did, however, concede that the launch is specifically aimed to target consumer tastes in India, noting, “While we have used global efficiency and expertise in hair care, the formula is crafted and developed for India.”
L’Oréal is focusing its efforts on India, with its stated objective in the country being to develop its trade to the point that by 2020, its revenues will be up to Rs 7,000 crore.
Others in on the act
The French company is not the only multinational looking to tap into the dominant domestic trend for herbals and align itself with the Ayurveda tradition.
Recently, Hindustan Unilever (HUL) acquired an ayurvedic hair oil and personal care brand, Indulekha: its first acquisition in more than a decade, and a move to re-enter hair oils for the first time since 2006.
Unilever global CEO, Paul Polman, recently described India as a market which is emerging with “momentum”, attributing this to the political and social progress being made in the country.