The Sachet Revolution in Rural India

As the money flow is not persistent in residents of rural India, buying goods in small portion packs is comfortable for them. Affordability and convenience are driving the sachet concept in rural India. MOHD MUSTAQUIM reports
The Sachet Revolution in Rural India

Ramesh, a farmer living in Barabanki district of Uttar Pradesh, made an earning of over rupees two lakh last year after selling his crop. This year, he is apprehensive about the yield as monsoon has already faltered. This has severely affected his plans for any expenditure as whole in coming times.

This is the scenario of the farmers and his family residing in rural areas across the nation. Irregular monsoon has affected the lives of people depend on agriculture.

This scenario has led to the advent of portion packs by the consumer product companies as they are targeting people living in villages, who due to financial constraints will prefer portion packs rather than large packs due its affordability.

Inexpensive is the primary reason, portion packs are getting popularity. It has become a successful strategy in penetrating across the rural market. Consumer goods companies bring products in small and affordable packs. Products like detergent powders, shampoo, hair oil, soaps, spices, tobacco, mouth fresheners and other goods in small packages are very popular among the rural consumers.

SK Sarkar, a joint director with Indian Institute of Packaging, says, “If you buy a good quality of shampoo bottle, you may have to pay hundred rupees. If you go to the poor population, which is the main population of the country, may be his daily income is hundred rupees or even less. So, first essential thing is not shampoo, first he has to get his food and other eatables, he cannot afford a shampoo bottle which may cost hundred rupees. But if you are providing him a two or three rupees pouch, he can easily afford.”

According to market experts, approximately 70 per cent of the products are sold in small pouches in the country. Consumer goods companies are very much keen to target the rural population. Low income has been the main reason behind popularising small pouches.

“People are demanding portion packs because it is countable and affordable to the rural masses especially for the low income people, these are the advantages of portion packaging. The consumer and the manufacturer, both are happy, ”Surekha Poddar, Director at Petal Packaging Company, says.

Many people in rural India are daily wage earners, they consume things as per their daily need. They cannot afford large packs of detergent powders, hair and edible oil, shampoo, spices or other products. And therefore, portion packaging is becoming popular. If manufactures do not bring consumer goods in small packs, they may not capture the main market and it would be left.

Experts say that nowadays, people are more conscious about their health, so they prefer well-packed food items which can be preserved for longer time.

As per the need of consumption, small packs are well-preserved. “If you open a large pack of biscuit, it is very sensitive and may get deteriorated very fast and as well as bacterial contamination from the atmosphere. If the consumer gets small packs of biscuits, edible oil, pastry and all. He is happy to see that the product is safe,” Sarkar describes.

Even edible oil is packed in small packs, the customers are assured that the product is not adulterated. Due to the long duration of use, large packs always have a chance of leakage, adulteration or bacterial contamination. “It is an argument, why a person needs a small quantity of anything? And then it is almost guaranteed that it is hygienically packed. Exact quantity is small you get that and it is well preserved,” Poddar says.

The family structure has also been one of the reasons for the popularity of portion packs. Earlier, most of the families were living jointly, so in those days, there were large packs. Now the scenario has faded out and the trend of nucleus families has arrived in the country and is somewhat applicable in rural areas too. People are living in small number in a family.

Small packs were introduced almost three decades ago. With its start, the sale of shampoo raised rapidly, almost exponentially. It became more popular in the country. Earlier it was limited only to urban high income group.

Portion packs bridged the gap between the rural consumers and the consumer goods. The rural consumers got an access to these consumer goods easily, now they do not have to pay for a large pack which cannot be afforded by a daily wage earner who just earn in hundreds or even less earning in a day.

Sarkar says, “Three decades ago, when pan masala was supplied by the manufactures in tin cans, it was not very much popular, however, it was brought in small pouches, it became popular across the country and rural masses got an access to it.”

Consumers’ need forced manufacturing companies to start small packs. Today, portion pack is a success

The Changing Face of Rural India