From THE HINDU group of publications
Wednesday, November 14, 2001


Freebies soften the blow

Aarati Krishnan

With the shop shelves flooded with freebies, toothpastes is one category where there is evidence everywhere of bruising competition. Nevertheless, the Maximum Retail Prices (MRPs) of major brands of toothpaste appear to have risen quite significantly over the past one year. Almost every major brand in the fray has hiked the MRP over this period. The sharp spike in petro-product prices, several of which go into making of toothpaste ingredients appear to have provided an underpinning for the price hikes. However, in many cases manufacturers appear to have softened the blow with a freebie offer.

Manufacturers have chosen to peg up prices by varying degrees with large divergences between brands. The majority of price hikes range from 6 to 15 per cent of the MRP. In the white toothpaste category, Colgate Dental Cream has seen the MRP of its 150 gram pack hiked by around 12 per cent, the 100 and 200 gram versions have suffered lower increases of around 8 per cent. The closest competitor Pepsodent has seen a similar hike. On the other hand, the less established brands such as Cibaca Top, Forhans and Promise have chosen to leave their MRPs unchanged over the past year.

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Among the Gel toothpastes, the 150 gram version of Colgate Blue has seen its MRP hiked by around 10 per cent. The 150 gram version of Close Up Red, which has seen a sharper price hike, is now running a promotional offer where 50 grams of the toothpaste is given free with every 150 gram tube. Colgate Gel Red offers a Palmolive Naturals soap free with every 150 gram pack.

Herbal toothpastes too have seen price increases, with Meswak, Neem and Vicco Vajradanti all pegging up their MRPs by between 5 and 15 per cent. Colgate Herbal has seen a price hike of around 4 per cent on the 200 gram pack.

Premium toothpaste brands appear to have brone the brunt of the price increases. Colgate Total for instance has seen a 13 per cent hike in the MRP of its 150 gram pack. Pepsodent 2-in-1 has seen a 10 per cent hike in its 100 gram pack.

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