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Show Notes:

Today, India accounts for only about 5% of the 90 billion period care products sold across the globe. However, this is expected to nearly double in the next few years. Experts estimate that by 2026, the menstrual health market will grow 11% globally, with nearly half of that increase occurring within India’s borders. To find out why, host Jack Hughes welcomes Chirag Virani, co-founder of India-based Sparkle Eco Innovations. Prior to launching his sustainability-focused absorbent hygiene company, Chirag carefully researched the Indian market. In this episode of ‘Attached to Hygiene’, he shares what he learned, including the reasons behind India’s rapid growth as a period care market.

According to Chirag, two of the biggest factors contributing to this expansion are consumer education and rising disposable income. Currently, only around 35% of India’s women have access to period care products. This number may double in just the next few years. Even so, the market poses several challenges for absorbent hygiene manufacturers.

Urban markets parallel period care in other developed regions

The top three absorbent hygiene manufacturers worldwide account for a solid 75-80% of hygiene sales in India. Consumers show great loyalty to the period care brands and the products they were first introduced to by family members. As elsewhere, India’s younger city-dwellers are gravitating toward more sustainable products. This is especially true for those whose higher disposable income allows them to pay the premium cost of sustainable options. One difference from other urban markets is an increased preference for sanitary pads over tampons. The main reason is a cultural stigma against products that are placed within the body.

Menstrual health challenges in rural India

Education, access, and availability. These are key obstacles for hygiene manufacturers and for the consumers they are hoping to reach in India’s more rural regions. A surprising 70% of those who menstruate only learn of its existence when they get their first period. Too often this sensitive topic is not discussed, so even a basic understanding of sanitary menstrual health can be lacking. Some do not understand what a sanitary pad is or how it is used. For those who are more informed, there are other barriers—such as the unreliability of the supply chain, expense, and shame. These factors can limit consumer access to the products they need and their ability to use them in a healthy manner.

Outline of the Episode

  • [2:40] Introduction of guest and India-based Sparkle Eco Innovations

  • [8:51] Overview of growing period care for consumers in India

  • [11:04] Market preferences, and the need for sustainability

  • [15:41] The region’s market leaders and manufacturers

  • [17:50] Sustainability and India’s period care landscape

  • [21:56] Demographics and their impact on user preference

  • [26:18] The differences between urban and rural consumers and markets

  • [32:21] Other types of period care products being used


Connect with Chirag Virani via LinkedIn.


Follow Sparkle on:

To hear more about menstrual health and period care products, listen to these episodes:

Delve deeper into sustainability issues for absorbent hygiene industry:

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Host: Jack Hughes

Music by Jonathan Boyle

Produced and edited by: Jack Hughes with help from Paul Andrews, Michele Tonkovitz, Emory Churness, Nikki Ackerman, and Green Onion Creative.


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