Person in a shop in Delhi, India

Increasing access in India

The traditional distribution model used to build business in India hasn’t worked in the rural, hard-to-reach villages which currently represent 70% of India’s 1.2 billion population.

These rural communities are spread over nearly 640,000 villages making each village unit extremely small with sometimes fewer than 2,000 people in each town and few or no shops.

india map close up

Building infrastructure, serving the community

Our goal was twofold: to build a strong infrastructure; and to serve the rural community by enhancing awareness on health and nutrition in these markets, thereby building a more sustainable business. We planned to reach 20,000 villages by 2014 aspired to go far beyond our existing direct distribution network covering those villages where we had no control over the products purchased by retailers and the communication that our customers received around those products.

In the short span of three years we have built a huge distribution network and today we cover over 16,000 villages directly. In these villages we have managed to supply relevant products across our entire range of wellness, oral health, nutrition and foods are available to rural consumers.

We wanted to find a way to reach these people with our products and relevant health information, despite the challenges of poor roads and little or no communications infrastructure

The rural business model in India has been highly successful and in the first half of 2014, grew three times faster than the rest of the India Consumer business. We expect to exceed our goal for 2014 by covering nearly 15% of India’s total rural population by the end of the year. The initiative is designed to be replicated in other emerging markets, and is already being rolled out in Bangladesh. The principles of this model can easily be applied to various other markets across the world including Asia, Africa and Latin America.

If you would like to find out more about our business in India or this initiative in particular, please contact us.