India: Dabur India Limited. Success Thru Innovation – A Case Study

Last Updated: 27 August 2004
Article by Vineet Goyal

The story of Dabur is more than a century old when it was established as a small pharmacy by Dr. S K Burman, in 1884, in Kolkata (erstwhile Calcutta). Since than, it is a story of success based on innovative ideas, dedication to nature, corporate and process hygiene, dynamic leadership and commitment to the partners and stakeholders.

Dabur established its first production unit at Garhia in 1896 and it was one of a very few Indian companies to start its own R&D unit in 1919. The company has gone a long way in popularizing and making easily available a whole range of products based on the traditional science of Ayurveda. In early 1900 itself, Dabur identified nature-based Ayurvedic medicines as its area of specialization. It is the first company to provide health care through scientifically tested and automated production of formulations based on the Indian traditional science. Subsequently, Dabur was incorporated as a Pvt. Ltd. Company – Dabur (Dr. S K Burman) Pvt. Ltd. In 1936.

There has not been any looking back for the giant from that time.

Seeing an immense potential to serve the Indian customer with low-cost high quality ayurvedic products for personal care, Dabur introduced the first packaged and branded hair oil – Dabur Amla Hair Oil in 1940, which eventually became the largest selling hair oil in the country. Today Personal care is the largest SBU contributing to 45% sales of Dabur and comprises of the following products -

  • Products related to Hair Care, Skin Care, Oral Care and Foods
  • 3 leading brands - Vatika, Amla Hair Oil and Lal Dant Manjan with Rs.100 crore turnover each
  • Vatika Hair Oil & Shampoo the high growth brand
  • Strategic positioning of Honey as food product, leading to market leadership (over 40%) in branded honey market 

However, healthcare remained to be the prime-focus for the company and it is the 2nd largest SBU with 28% share in sales

  • Products related to Health Supplements, Digestives, Baby Care and Natural Cures.
  • Leadership in Ayurvedic and herbal products market with highly popular brands.
  • Dabur Chyawanprash the largest selling Ayurvedic medicine with 65% (Rs.127 crore) market share.
  • Leader in herbal digestives with 90% market share, Hajmola tablets in command with 75% market share of digestive tablets category
  • Dabur Lal Tail tops baby massage oil market with 35% of total share

Innovation has been the key all along. Dabur Chyawanprash was the first packaged and branded Chyawanprash in India, when it was launched in 1949. Subsequent to the launch of Hajmola Tablets in 1978, when the market became competitive and the market-share of hajmola started dropping, the ayurvedic digestive formulation was converted into a children’s fun product with the launch of Hajmola Candy which became an instant hit. Dabur also introduced Lal Dant Manjan way back in 1970 which is a conveniently packaged herbal toothpowder made available at affordable costs to the rural masses.

In the Ayurvedic medicines segment, Dabur today has more than 250 products sold through prescriptions as well as over the counter

  • Major categories in traditional formulations include:

- Asav Arishtas

- Ras Rasayanas

- Churnas

- Medicated Oils

  • Proprietary Ayurvedic medicines developed by Dabur include:

- Nature Care Isabgol

- Madhuvaani

- Trifgol

The company shifted based to Delhi from Calcutta in 1972 and started commercial production at Sahibabad, the most modern herbal medicines plant at that time. With the technology at the helm in Dabur, by 1995, in addition to the existing products, the company exported products like an improved version of Chyawanprash – with more honey and less pungency, liquid form of Chyawanprash, an aqueous based hair-vitalizer , Melatonine etc – all in-house innovations.

Dabur captured the imagination of young Indian consumers in 1996, with the launch of Real Fruit Juices - a new concept in the Indian foods market. The first local brand of 100% pure natural fruit juices made to international standards, Real became the fastest growing and largest selling brand in the country. Subsequently, Dabur Foods also took the route of ethnic cooking pastes and chutneys to enter Indian kitchens – when Hommade was born.

The giant completed 100 years in the year 1984 and became a Public Co. Ltd. With the first maiden public issue in 1994. in 1998, Burman family - one of the most forward looking entrepreneurs at that time, handed over the management of the company to professionals – against one of the very first few Indian Businesses having done so. The result – Dabur established its market leadership status by staging a turnover of Rs. 1000 crores by the year 2000. Across a span of 100 years, Dabur had grown from a small beginning based on traditional health care to a commanding position amongst the august league of large corporate businesses.

However, there was no place for complacency at Dabur.

Dabur established its leadership in health care as one of only two companies worldwide to launch the anti-cancer drug Intaxel (Paclitaxel). Dabur Research Foundation, which was set up as early as in 1978, developed an eco-friendly process to extract the drug from its plant source.

Three domestic pharma companies – Cadilla Pharmaceuticals, Shantha Biotech and Dabur India, signed an agreement with the department of biotechnology, Govt. of India, for developing and marketing basic molecules in leprosy, hepatitis and tumor disease segments.

With the setting up of Dabur Oncology's sterile cytotoxic facility in 2001, the Company gained entry into the highly specialised area of cancer therapy. The state-of-the-art plant and laboratory in the UK have approval from the MCA of UK. They follow FDA guidelines for production of drugs specifically for European and American markets.

As a reflection of its constant efforts at achieving superior quality standards, Dabur became the first Ayurvedic products company to get ISO 9002 certification. Reinforcing its commitment to nature and its conservation, Dabur Nepal, a subsidiary of Dabur India, has set up fully automated green houses in Nepal which help to produce saplings of rare medicinal plants that are under threat of extinction.

Dabur is also implementing IT in a big way, which shall help in integrating a vast distribution system spread all over the country and across the world and to cut costs and increase profitability.

In Dabur India Ltd. Knowledge and technology are key resources, which have helped the company to achieve higher levels of excellence and efficiency.

The story continues….

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.