Nielsen’s research puts India among the top three Asia Pacific countries, along with Vietnam and Indonesia, which are showing a strong affinity for eco-friendly products. As consumers express their desire for greener products, brands are responding with the launch of more non-chemical, health-friendly products for homes. More eco-friendly paints, pest control products, lighting, furniture and consumer electronics, among several other things, are vying for consumer preference now.
Consumers in the past have expressed concerns with pest repellents that could cause allergies, have bad odour and cause harm over repeat exposures. “Consumers were looking for an ideal product that would eliminate pests without causing any harm to their families. Mortein NaturGard contains natural citronella extracts,” said Chander Mohan Sethi, senior VP – South East Asia, Reckitt Benckiser. Demand for the product is significant and, Reckitt says, it adds to the brand’s image too.
“An increasing number of consumers are ready to put their money on environment-friendly products. For us, it certainly adds premium to our brand image,” said Sethi.Reckitt also has Air Wick and Aqua Mist eco-friendly products.
When Godrej Hi-Care launched its pest-control services – normally a cumbersome affair – with the promise that normal activities in the premises could be resumed within 15 minutes of the service’s completion, the proposition found many takers. When the service was sold to ISS Denmark’s Indian subsidiary, and became ISS Hi-Care, the same promise was retained.
Joydeep Sarkar, CEO, ISS Hi-Care, said, “Eco-friendliness has meant keeping the chemical content in the spray within permissible limits. Over repeated services, we partner with customers to reduce the chemical content further by teaching them to manage their environments better.” ISS has herbal products – a pest-repelling gel, a rate cake, a mosquito repellant – which are used in its services.
“Everyone in this industry is moving up the value chain with more eco-friendly products and services, be it gels, sprays or coils,” Sarkar said.
Given a choice, the Indian shopper would go for the healthier ‘green’ options, observed Dipita Chakraborty, executive director, Nielsen. “The sensitivities to want ecologically-friendly products are in place, but the high prices for products ranging from recycled paper to organic foods make it difficult for consumers to buy them for everyday use.”
The pull, for consumers, is nonetheless growing. “In the competitive market, it is imperative to stay ahead with newer, better technologies. Eureka Forbes’ ‘Green RO’ membrane technology is made to suit different water conditions. It has given Aquaguard an edge over competitors and retain leadership,” said Marzin Shroff, senior VP marketing, Eureka Forbes. The company is also innovating with non-toxic paints and carrying out productions in its ‘green’ factory.
LG’s new ‘health guard’ feature in its refrigerators promises to deliver high quality health value from foods through an air purification system. “With this new series, we are expecting to grow more than 25% this year in refrigerators,” said Soon Kwon, MD, LG India.
“Indians have started demanding green products while designing their homes. Though the demand comes only from 15% of my posh clientele, the query rate is increasing significantly,” said architect Bobby Mukherji. “Use of CFL or LED lighting and star-rated appliances is common, whereas use of solar panels and wind energy is growing in multinational corporation offices.”
To do away with chemical fumes being emitted from wall paints, Nerolac rolled out Impressions, its non-lead based, health-friendly paints. “Having almost zero volatile organic content, Impressions is growing at 30-35% per year,” said Sukhpreet Singh, VP, sales and marketing, Kansai Nerolac Paints. “I actually painted my house with eco-friendly colors while my wife was pregnant. The concept is logical and addresses serious concerns,” said Rahul Chawla, 29, a businessman.With consumers getting more health and wellness conscious, the offer of chemical-free products is making an impact.