FMCG, or Fast Moving Consumer Goods, is one of the fastest growing sectors in Bangladesh, with an annual turnover of around Tk 30,000 crore. For the past few decades in the FMCG industry of Bangladesh, international brands like Unilever, Nestlé, and Marico, as well as several domestic brands like Pran, Randhuni, Ruchi, Teer, Fresh, have been doing business successfully by meeting the needs of consumers. Earlier multinational companies in this sector met the needs of the country’s consumers through imports, but currently 95 percent of the product portfolio of multinational companies like Unilever is being produced in the country. Again, the products of brands like Pran, Randhuni, and Ruchi are being exported abroad to satisfy the needs of the country’s people. In this article, we will discuss 7 FMCG companies in Bangladesh.
1. Unilever Bangladesh
Unilever is one of the largest FMCG brands in the world. More than 400 household products of this British multinational brand are used globally by about 3.5 billion consumers in more than 190 countries daily. In Bangladesh, the company has 28 brand products in 10 categories, out of which Unilever is the market leader in 9 categories. Among the popular brands of Unilever in the market are LUX, Glow & Lovely, Wheel, Surf Excel, Rin, Lifebuoy, CloseUp, Pepsodent, Vaseline, Sunsilk, Clear, Ponds, and Dove. Although Unilever’s journey in Bangladesh started with Lever Brothers India Limited’s Sunlight Soap in undivided India, Lever Brothers Pakistan officially started operations in 1964 by setting up a soap manufacturing plant at Kalurghat, Chittagong.
In 1971, during the liberation war of Bangladesh, the plant was closed, but in 1973, the company resumed operations under the Lever Brothers Bangladesh Ltd name. Since 2004, the company has been operating in Bangladesh under the name Unilever Bangladesh, with 60.75-percent of shares held by London-based Unilever and the remaining 39.25 percent by the Bangladesh government. At present, the company has eight manufacturing hubs in Bangladesh. In addition, in 2020, Unilever acquired about 82 percent (81.99) of GSK in Bangladesh with an investment of more than 2000 crores BDT (2020.75). Since then, brands like Horlicks, GlaxoS D, and Boost from GSK’s Health Food & Drinks segment have also come under the Unilever shade. Presently “Javed Akhtar” is working as CEO and Managing Director of this multinational company. According to TBSNews, Unilever is currently leading the Bangladesh market with a 60 percent share of the Tk 30,000 crore FMCG market in Bangladesh.
2. ACI Foods Ltd
ACI is one of the top FMCG manufacturing companies in Bangladesh. With over 60 products available under 16 categories, ACI offers spices, edible oil, salt, flour, and semolina under its Pure brand and cakes, crackers, juices, chanachur, and candies under its FUN brand. In addition, ACI’s consumer brands include toiletries, home care, hygiene, electrical and electronics, mobiles, and paints, among others. Besides consumer brands and commodity products, ACI’s business units include pharmaceuticals and agribusiness too. Apart from this, ACI’s retail chain Shop Swapna is the largest retail chain in Bangladesh, with more than 190 outlets and serving more than 40 thousand customers daily.
ACI or Advanced Chemical Industries was established in 1968 as a subsidiary of Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI) in East Pakistan. After independence, ICI Bangladesh Manufacturers Limited was established as a public limited company on 24 January 1973 and listed on the Dhaka Stock Exchange on 28 December 1976. Later, in 1992, ICI plc transferred the company’s majority shareholding to Bangladeshi shareholders. During 2020-21, ACI and its subsidiaries contributed Tk.1850 crore to the National Revenue Fund. Currently, M Anis Uddaula is acting as the chairman of the company. In addition, since 2008, ACI’s Pure and Fun brand products have been exported to more than 15 countries worldwide, including the Middle East, America, Canada, UK, Italy, Australia, Malaysia, and Singapore.
Pran is one of the largest FMCG brands in Bangladesh. Pran has over 200 brands across ten food categories – juices, drinks, carbonated beverages, mineral water, bakery, snacks, powdered spices, confectionery, biscuits, and dairy. Pran was founded in 1981 at the hands of Major General Amjad Khan. In 1986 the company entered into direct agricultural operations through contract farming, and in 1992 established itself in the FMCG industry by setting up a food processing plant at Ghorashal. Almost all products are equally popular, including Pran’s Alltime Bun, Frutoo, Mama Wafer, Sauce and Ketchup, Lychee, Spices, Cooking Oil, Milk Candy, and Mr. Noodles. Apart from Bangladesh, Pran products are being exported to more than 145 countries worldwide. Since 1999, Pran has been receiving the National Export Trophy for its export performance.
Exporting for over two decades, PRAN has full-fledged offices and warehouses in the USA, Australia, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, India, Oman, Malaysia, Singapore, and Somalia, from where it handles sales and distribution. In 2019, the company won the Australia Bangladesh Business Council Award as the best FMCG company in Australia. Since 2016, Ahsan Khan Chowdhury has been serving as the company’s CEO.
Nestle is another world’s most popular and leading food and beverage company. This multinational company operates in 191 countries worldwide and currently has a total of 354 factories in 79 countries around the world. Nestlé has more than 2000 brands in its portfolio, ranging from baby food, coffee, chocolate and confectionery, cereals, and dairy products to bottled water, ice cream, and pet food. Nestlé’s popular brands in Bangladesh include Kitkat, Maggi, Nescafe, Nido, and Coffee Mate. Nestlé Bangladesh, established in 1992 as a joint venture between Transcom Limited and Switzerland-based Nestlé S.A., started commercial operations in 1994 by setting up a factory in Sreepur, Gazipur.
Later, in 1998, Nestlé Bangladesh became a fully owned subsidiary of Nestlé S.A. Currently, Deepal Abeywickrema is working as the Managing Director of Nestlé Bangladesh. In the financial year 2019-20, the company contributed 600 crores to the National Revenue Fund and won the highest taxpayer award for the fifth time in a row in the Food & Allied category. In addition, in 2020, Nestlé Bangladesh won silver and bronze awards in the two categories of “Best Use of YouTube” and “Best Use of Display” on behalf of the Bangladesh Brand Forum.
In most homes in Bangladesh, Radhuni is very popular as a powdered spice in cooking or Ruchi as a chanachur or sauce for an afternoon snack. And the manufacturing company of these two popular brands, “Square Food and Beverage,” is a concern of one of the diversified conglomerates, “Square Group” in Bangladesh. Square Group’s journey began in 1958 with the establishment of a pharmacy by four friends, Samson H Chowdhury, Kazi Harunur Rashid, PK Saha, and Radhabinod Roy. Other sister concerns of Square Group include Square Pharmaceuticals, Square Hospitals, Square Textiles, Machranga Communications, and Square Informatics. Square Food & Beverage Limited started its journey in 2001 as a concern of Square Group.
Initially, Radhuni started operations with products like various spices and oils, each with flavored chanachurs and sauces, from cultivated sugar powder rice, chopstick noodles, and Aram fruit juices to a total of 5 different brands under Square Food & Beverage. Since its inception, “Square Food & Beverage Limited” has established a strong position in the FMCG market of Bangladesh, relying on the popularity of its culinary and gourmet products. As one of the most popular consumer brands in the country, Randhuni also won the “Best Local Brand” and “Best Spice Brand” awards from the Bangladesh Brand Forum in 2014. Since 2012, Samuel S Chowdhury has been appointed as the Chairman of Square Group, and currently, Square Food & Beverage Limited is exporting its products to 30 countries around the world.
Another leading consumer brand in Bangladesh is Fresh. Fresh is a brand of Meghna Group of Industries, one of the top industrial conglomerates of Bangladesh. From flour, flour, and semolina to cooking spices, salt, sugar, edible oil, water, tea, biscuits and confectionery, condensed milk, and energy drinks, Meghna operates 18 product categories under brands like Fresh, Super Fresh, Pure, Number One. Under the Group of Industries. Apart from FMCG, Meghna Group of Industries operates in sectors ranging from cement, steel, building materials, chemicals, LPG, animal feed, shipping and logistics, dockyards, stationery, securities, insurance, media, aviation to economic zones and power plants.
This conglomerate, one of the largest in Bangladesh, started operations in 1976 under Kamal Trading. At least 1 out of every two households in Bangladesh is using Meghna Group products. Besides, Meghna Group currently has 6,000 distributors and 15,000 suppliers, and the company exports its products to around 25 countries worldwide.
“Teer Chara Amar Cholei Na” – This TVC phrase is well known to almost all age groups in Bangladesh. However, when it comes to flour, flour, semolina, and sugar brands, most Bangladeshi consumers will think of the Teer brand. Teer is a brand of one of the leading conglomerates in Bangladesh – City Group. Along with Teer, City group has 40 products under five brands – Jibon, Sun, Bengal & Natural. On February 6, 1972, the “City Group” journey started with Fazlur Rahman through City Oil Mills in Gandaria, Dhaka. Apart from FMCG, sheep building, animal feed, tea plantations, oil refineries, and economic zones are also being operated under the City Group.
Fazlur Rahman, chairman of Citigroup, was awarded the “Business Person of the Year” honor in 2005 for his significant contribution to the FMCG industry in Bangladesh. In addition, the Teer brand won the Prestigious Brand of Asia Award in 2017-18, World’s Greatest Brand and Leaders Award in 2017-18, Best Tax Payer Award in 2018-19, and Asia’s Greatest Brands and Leaders Award in 2020-21, among others. Furthermore, it has won the Best Brand Award several times.