Aishwarya Ramesh

"Home remedies like lemon and salt just don't cut it anymore": Sanjeev Gauba, Kent

A chat with Sanjeev Gauba, CMO, Kent RO Systems, on a 10-year-old gadget that became relevant overnight – a fruit/vegetable disinfectant device.

Disinfection is on everyone’s minds right now. With the Coronavirus pandemic spreading like wildfire, people are taking every possible precaution to prevent it from reaching their homes and infecting their families.

Companies have also stepped forward with cleaning solutions/liquids that can be used to wash and clean vegetables and fruits. One such solution is Kent’s Fruit and Vegetable disinfectant.

Kent vegetable and fruit cleaner devices
Kent vegetable and fruit cleaner devices

It comes in wall-mounting and tabletop variants, but the interesting part is that the product has been around for nearly a decade. The only competitor it has in the ‘veggie and fruit disinfectant device’ category is a similar device by Prestige.

In a consumer’s mind, these products would compete with Marico’s Veggie Clean, ITC’s NimWash and CavinKare’s SaaFoo – all cleaning solutions designed to disinfect fruits and vegetables, and rid them of pesticides.

Liquid vegetable wash solutions
Liquid vegetable wash solutions

Though RO water purifiers remain Kent's flagship product, this isn't its first foray into the hygiene space. In recent times, the company has also launched hand sanitiser dispensers that can hold up to six litres of liquid sanitisers.

The main aim of introducing this was to help disperse crowds, maintain social distancing and to ensure that everyone has adequate access to sanitiser while they're out and about in public, says Sanjeev Gauba, CMO Kent RO Systems.

"Our fruit and vegetable disinfectant has been around for the last 8-10 years. We’ve been trying to push it in the market based on its advantages – that it can clean the pesticides and insecticides found on the surface of fruits and vegetables," he says.

Gauba emphasises that since the pandemic started, there has been an increased interest in products related to hygiene. This is the time when people realised the critical need for a product like this one, he explains.

He calls the product topical and adds that the pandemic has made it more relevant now. "Since the product has been around, we have been pushing for it and advertising it more aggressively. The product has also generated more queries in the market because of the interest generated in products of this nature during the pandemic," Gauba says.

He stresses that Kent has been advertising regularly for this product since its inception. Bollywood actress Hema Malini is an integral part of the brand and is the brand ambassador as well.

People had been finding innovative ways to clean vegetables even before the pandemic, but he explains that in these circumstances, necessity is the mother of invention, after all. "People have used home remedies like lemon plus salt to wash away the chemicals, but that doesn’t cut it anymore. That’s why the demand in this category has gone up," says Gauba.

He explains that the fact of the matter is that the modern housewife is spending a lot more time in the kitchen right now. Gauba adds that the amount of work is not the issue because the truth is, hygiene is the top priority for everyone right now.

Sanjeev Gauba
Sanjeev Gauba

"She’s looking for a sure-shot solution, and she wants to be sure of the the disinfection process...," he mentions, adding that the ozone technology in Kent's device can help disinfect the produce thoroughly.

As far as media spends are concerned, Kent has not been cutting back. Gauba informs us that for the entire month of March and April, Kent ran ads on television and are still running print ads in papers such as the Times of India and other major dailies.

He confesses that there has been a host of challenges since the lockdown began. "Suddenly, we had to adjust all our marketing plans. We were dependent on newspaper advertising and we had to pivot because people stopped buying newspapers during the pandemic. This led us to realise that people are spending more time on the Internet so we had to readjust our media plan accordingly," he says.

Since people began increasingly depending on the Internet for news and information, we started concentrating more on digital advertising. According to Gauba, this did not mean a total pivot to digital advertising.

"We’ve been facing a host of challenges since the lockdown began. Suddenly, we had to adjust all our marketing plans."
Sanjeev Gauba

"In the past few months, we were the only company that advertised – less clutter meant that our brand could be heard more clearly. A brand’s impact will also be far greater and the reach will have more impact if you advertise at this time...," he signs off.

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