At a time when the country is battling the deadly Wuhan virus, a collective effort from the government, citizen and the corporates is the need of the hour. However, British-Dutch manufacturing company Hindustan Unilever has decided to resort to crisis profiteering as it increased the price of Lux soap by 9.1%. After being bashed by a news anchor, #boycottHUL started trending on twitter in no time.
HUL who has emerged as the market leader in soap category thanks to its diverse portfolio which has popular brands like Lux, Pears, Dove, Lifebuoy, Hamam, Lyril and Rexona. In February, the company indicated that it might increase the price of its soap due to palm oil getting dearer. “We would take the prices up in the soap part of our portfolio. We would be looking to price up between 5 to 6 per cent and they would come in a phased manner.” said Chief Financial Officer Srinivas Phatak.
Anil Singhvi of Zee Business didn’t take this move to increase the prices lying down and decided to rain fire on HUL. Singhvi on live TV said that he is extremely sad to know that there is no ‘Hindustan’ in Hindustan Unilever. He further added that at such a precarious time when the whole nation is being urged to wash their hands regularly with soap to combat the coronavirus, the decision to increase the price is grossly wrong and hence, prices that there is ‘H’ in ‘HUL’.
This is inhuman and against humanity. Hindustan Uniliver increases prices of their key products at the time of epidemic. Shame on you uniliver #BoycottHUL @sudhirchaudhary @sardanarohit @AnilSinghvi_ @KapilMishra_IND @BJP4India @PypAyurved @myogiadityanath @consumerforum_ pic.twitter.com/LjXBqhmqHf
— KUSHAGRA MISHRA (@Blackwolf_0003) March 18, 2020
Singhvi slammed HUL for resorting to crisis profiteering at a time when the country’s population are rushing to buy soaps and labelled the move as ‘unacceptable’ and urged the government to take serious action against the company. Singhvi worried that there is a possibility that other FMCG companies would take a leaf out of the book of HUL and also increase the price.
Singhvi concluded that this is a once in a lifetime situation and instead of helping by cutting down the prices, HUL is looking to gain profits as it looks to cash in on the panic.
Singhvi’s passionate outburst quickly went viral and #boycottHUL started trending on Twitter in no time.
— KAUNfused CRAFTSman (@Amit_Gulecha) March 18, 2020
— Anjali Priya (@AnjaliPriya03) March 18, 2020
The company’s stocks also took a severe beating and closed at INR 1,930.
It closed at 1930 😂 pic.twitter.com/ErG4ObzInw
— Shubhangi Tiwari (@shubh19822) March 18, 2020
It is sad to see HUL who through their advertisements take up various social causes to position the company as a citizen friendly brand who actually cares. However, actions speak louder than words and this move by HUL to increase the prices in the times of crisis is highly condemnable and should have been avoided.