THE WHAT? FMCG companies including Hindustan Unilever, Dabur, ITC and Reckitt Benckiser are to slash prices of hand sanitizer and face masks following a government mandate to cap rates of the sought-after items.
THE DETAILS The Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution announced measures including the regulating of hand sanitizer prices to no more than Rs 100 per 200 ml, with lower or higher volume packs priced accordingly.
Masks, meanwhile, were capped at Rs 10 per piece for 3-ply masks and Rs 8 a piece for 2-ply masks.
Despite the measures meaning many of the companies would be selling at a loss, the overall consensus was that national interest currently comes above profit.
Vivek Gambhir, Godrej Consumer Products Managing Director, said, “We have started new production at the government-decided price. This would mean selling below the cost price, but profit and business is secondary right now due to public interest.”
Meanwhile HUL stated it would stand in “support of the nation at this time of crisis.”
Retailers Amazon and Flipkart have asked sellers to cut prices immediately or face a block from the site, while Patanjali Ayurved is set to launch its own range of sanitizers next week, stating it believes “in responding to consumer needs on a non-profit basis.”
THE WHY? As the COVID-19 escalated worldwide, essential items such as hand sanitizers and masks soared in demand, in turn causing global shortages and cost increases. The new government mandate aims to prevent hoarding and price manipulation.