Soap is now more expensive, toothpaste is not far behind
The maximum retail price (MRP) of a well-known brand of fragrant soap in the country was Rs 58 (150 grams) exactly a year ago. The current price of the same soap is 75 taka. The price of soap increased by 29 percent in one year.
Not just perfumed soaps; The prices of cloth soap, powdered soap or detergent, toothpaste, shampoo, tissues and other daily use products have increased. This price increase has greatly increased the cost of the family.
People have to go to the market to buy rice, pulses, oil, sugar, milk and spend a lot more than before.
This picture of price increase was obtained by talking to the grocers of the capital’s five raw markets and companies selling soap products. They say that the prices have increased several times in the last six months. The reason for the increase in prices is the increase in the price of raw materials in the world market, shipping charges, the exchange rate of the US dollar and the increase in transportation costs in the country.
When asked about the price increase, Prothom Alo was informed by Unilever Bangladesh Limited, a leading company in the fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) sector, that the price of raw materials for home care products in the global market has increased by an average of 68 percent due to the changing situation. The cost of raw materials for skin care products has increased by 69 percent. And the price of raw materials used in face and hair care products has increased by 40 and 50 percent respectively. For this the company has adjusted the price of their products.
Consumer rights organization Consumers Association of Bangladesh (CAB) maintains data on prices of daily commodities. According to the organization’s report, the average price of a medium-sized perfumed soap produced by multinational companies in the country was Tk 43 to Tk 46 in 2019.
Now the same soap is sold at 55 rupees. Two brands of medium-sized scented soaps of domestic companies were priced around Rs.30. Now the same soap is sold for 45 to 50 rupees.
Talking to people related to the sector, it is known that the market size of perfumed soap in the country is about 3000 crore rupees annually. Unilever has more than half of this market. Square Toiletries is second in the soap market. About 10 percent of the fragrance soap market is held by Merrill.
Talking to several existing companies in the soap market, it is known that last January, the price of a 100 gram soap of a scented brand was Tk 40. After that, the price has increased in several stages and now stands at 55 taka. As a result, the price of a 100 gram scented soap has increased by 37 and a half percent in a span of eight months. However, the price of perfumed soap in the market varies by weight.
Shamima Akhter, director of Unilever Bangladesh’s Corporate Affairs and Partnerships and Communications Department, said that the price of raw materials in the world market has increased significantly in recent times. Along with that, shipping costs, transportation costs and dollar prices have increased. Due to these reasons, the production cost has increased and the prices have to be adjusted.
Price of powdered soap and cloth raw soap
The price of powdered soap has also increased. There are different brands of soap powder in the market. Let’s look at the price increase chart of a well-known brand of soap powder. In the middle of last April, the price of one kg of powdered soap of that brand was Tk 140. By checking the packaging, it can be seen that the retail price of the same brand of powdered soap produced in the third week of August is kept at Tk 180.
Another well-known brand of powdered soap has been priced at Tk 140 per kg packet, which was Tk 115 last June. The price of soap powder of three brands of three domestic companies is around 110 rupees per kg. Shopkeepers say that the price of powdered soap of these brands has also increased. But the rate of price increase is less than popular brands.
Shopkeepers say that the price of cloth soap has also increased. A well-known brand of cloth soap (125 grams) was priced at Rs 20 a year ago, now it is Rs 25. The rate of price increase is 25 percent. The sellers claim that the retail price of raw soap of some companies weighing 125 to 130 grams has increased from Tk 15 to Tk 24 within a year. The price of dishwashing soap has also increased.
Talking to the companies involved in the business of washing powder or powdered soap, it is known that the market of powdered soap is about two and a half thousand crore rupees. In this market there are products of various brands of various companies including Unilever, Square, Kohinoor. People related to the sector said that at the beginning of this year, in the month of January, the price of a packet of soap powder weighing 500 grams was Tk 60. The price has increased gradually and now it is being sold at Tk 90 in the market. Accordingly, the price of a packet of soap powder weighing 500 grams has increased by one and a half times in a span of eight months.
When asked, Malik Mohammad Saeed, Director of Square Toiletries, told Prothom Alo that one of the reasons behind the increase in the price of powdered soap was the increase in the dollar price. The market for toiletries including scented soaps, powdered soaps is very competitive. Here the profit rate is also low. So the companies were left with no other option but to adjust the prices as the cost of production increased.
Toothpaste and shampoo
Shopkeepers say that the price of toothpaste has also increased. But not as much as soap. The price of each 100 gram tube of toothpaste has increased by Tk 10 to Tk 20. Last April, May too, the price of each 100 gram tube of toothpaste was Tk 70 to Tk 75. Now it has increased from 85 to 95 taka. Accordingly, the price of toothpaste increased by 21 to 27 percent within a few months. And the price of a medium-sized bottle of shampoo has increased by Rs. 20.