Hindustan Unilever (HUL) hiked prices across its portfolio of products by 3-13 per cent in multiple tranches in February, with the sharpest increase of 13 per cent seen in the 100 gm Lux soap pack, the price of which increased to Rs 35 from Rs 31 earlier.
The price of the 125 gms soap pack of Lifebuoy was hiked from Rs 31 to Rs 33, a rise of 6.5 per cent.
In January, the company had hiked the price of the same stock-keeping unit from Rs 29 to Rs 31.
A distributor of the company said on the condition of anonymity that throughout February, the company initiated price increases across its portfolio of products.
It raised prices even in January in the 3-20 per cent range across Wheel, Surf Excel, and Lifebuoy brands.
The price increases come on the back of constant rise in raw material costs.
In the latest round of hikes and among the products that have seen least increase, HUL has upped the price of its Dove Shampoo (180 ml) stock keeping unit by 3 per cent to Rs 165.
It also increased the price of Kissan jam (500 gms) by 3.2 per cent to Rs 160 and Horlicks (1 kg pack) from Rs 375 to Rs 390, an increase of 4 per cent.
Likewise, Pepsodent toothpaste (80 gms pack) is costlier by 4 per cent at Rs 52 and Surf Excel (one kg pack) has increased 4 per cent.
Vim Bar also saw an increase of 4 per cent to Rs 26.
Another distributor said price increases were seen in bundles of Lux soap packs that rose from Rs 150 to Rs 160.
In November, HUL increased prices in the range of 1-33 per cent across its products. It is not the only fast-moving consumer goods player to raise prices, and most other companies have also initiated price increases.
Effective March 1, Amul has also hiked the price of a litre of milk by Rs 2 and Parag Milk Foods has followed suit.
Dabur India’s chief executive officer Mohit Malhotra recently told Business Standard that the inflation in Q3 was truly unprecedented at over 13 per cent.
“There is continued inflation in hydrocarbon derivatives, paper-based packing material, raw honey, edible oils and some key spices that we use.
"We have offset part of the inflation impact through calibrated price increases of around 5 per cent in key products across health supplements, ayurvedic OTC, ethicals, hair oils and toothpaste, besides through cost-saving initiatives,” Malhotra said.
Since the end of December, the price of Brent crude oil has jumped from around $75 a barrel to over $103 a barrel currently, an increase of more than 37 per cent.
Oil prices have an impact on transport, logistics and packaging expenses of companies across sectors.
Photograph: Courtesy Hindustan Lever