How Zydus Wellness is trying to regain Complan’s lost glory


Tarun Arora, CEO, Zydus Wellness said that the company, to begin with, is investing massively to improve the penetration of the Complan brand in mass markets

twitter-logoAjita Shashidhar

| January 7, 2021 | Updated 01:19 IST

Remember the popular jingle ‘I am a Complan Boy, I am a Complan Girl’? This popular ad campaign, which had successfully driven home the belief that Complan was the best nutrition supplement for a growing child through the eighties and nineties, somehow lost its way over the years. Frequent change of hands – from GSK to Kraft Heinz and then to Zydus Wellness – as well as frequent changes in formulation and positioning took a toll on the brand. Complan’s market share, which a decade ago was in the region of 14-15 per cent (Horlicks has an over 60 per cent share), is now around 6-7 per cent of the overall malt-based beverage category. However, the brand’s new owner Zydus Wellness (it acquired Heinz India for Rs 4,595 crore in 2018), is all set to give Complan a new lease of life.

Speaking to BusinessToday.In, Tarun Arora, CEO, Zydus Wellness said that the company, to begin with, is investing massively to improve the penetration of the brand. “The brand earlier used to be available in 6.5 lakh outlets, and over the years its reach reduced to 4.5 lakh outlets. We are in the process of doubling our direct distribution reach by March 2021.”

The company has also relaunched Complan Nutrigro, the health supplement targeted at children

in the age group of 2-6 years. Unlike its peers, who have launched immunity boosting variants, Arora says that their strategy would be to focus on Complan’s original positioning of helping children to grow stronger.

“Complan already has 34 nutrients in its formulation which help in building immunity. However, we are not driving the immunity agenda aggressively, because for our TG, which is children, there is a greater need for wholesome growth,” he added.

The company’s intent is to take Complan to the rural markets, and for that it has expanded its reach in 800 small towns. “This will significantly help Complan as it has lost lot of ground,” expained Arora.

Zydus Wellness with the Heinz India acquisition is now a Rs 1,800 crore business and plans to take it to Rs 4,000 crore in the next 3-4 years. Along with Complan, Zydus also got other iconic brands such as Nycil and Glucon-D into its fold and there too the strategy has been one of deep mass market penetration.

At the peak of the lockdown, the company also invested in launching a new variant of Glucon-D, ImmunoVolt, an immunity building energy bite targeted at kids. It also launched Nycil sanitisers and sanitising wipes.

“In its 56-year history, Nycil was never extended to newer categories, we have taken it to sanitiser and sanitiser wipes. We are also launching value packs for rural markets,” says Arora, who claims that company’s innovation cycle has been over-active through the pandemic.

Apart from growing the Heinz portfolio of brands the company also launched Sugar Free chocolates and Nutralite chocolate spread. “We had the best run with Sugar Free as people were worried about their health and wanted to cut down calories as they were not able to exercise. Many of these launches were supposed to happen two years from now, but we fast-tracked them.”

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