Chandan Mukhwas: A breath of fresh air

Ramniklal Shah started STC INDIA PVT. LTD. in 1966, which has become a leading player in the mouth-freshener segment not just in India, but also in over 40 nations in the world with its brand Chandan Mukhwas. 

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Mouth fresheners like saunf or fennel seeds and paan (a digestive post-meal treat made with betel leaves) have been an age-old tradition in India. The Sanskrit language mentions the word mukhwas, meaning mouth fresheners , indicating that the history of paan dates back to the pre-Harappan Vedic period in India.

According to many sacred scriptures, it was considered to be auspicious and offered to deities. Further, culinary historians suggest that many Indian kings took a liking to these products. For example, Queen Noor Jahan introduced this practice to the Mughals, and during their reign, paan was given as land revenue by the Mahoba estate of Allahabad in Uttar Pradesh.

This habit of consuming mouth fresheners has survived several centuries in India. Today, the Indian mouth freshener market is anticipated to grow at a significant CAGR of 8.9% during 2020-2026. Product innovation coupled with the growing awareness of oral hygiene across the country & innovative product launches by global companies are driving the growth of this market. Further, this trend has proliferated to the other parts of the world, thanks to the forces of colonization and globalization, and the spread of the Indian diaspora in other parts of the world. On the other hand, the global mouth freshener market is also expected to grow at a CAGR of 6.1% in the next 5 years.

Backed by his conviction on the potential of this product, Ramniklal Shah started STC INDIA PVT. LTD. in an altogether different era – in the year 1966. Over the years, the baton of running the company successfully was passed on to Khantilal Shah, who gave it a brand name and added more varieties to the product mix.

His son Pankaj Shah, who developed ‘Chandan Mouth Freshener’ (or Chandan Mukhwas), currently heads the company as Managing Director. Meanwhile, the fourth generation scion Bhavya Shah has also joined the family business.

Over the course of these 55 years, this brand has established its presence, not just in India, but also in over 40 countries in different parts of the globe. These include the US, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Kuwait and Dubai, among others.

Chandan Mukhwas offers over 50 varieties of mouth fresheners to cater to the distinct tastes of its customers. Some of the popularly sold products include Paan Angoori, Royal Elaichi Mix, Kashmiri Mukhwas, Fresh Mint, Mango Khatta Mitha, Rajwadi Mukhwas, Lush Green, 5 in 1 Mukhwas, Gulab Mix & Omega Natural Mix.

Its modern no spit pan is also quite demanded in the market. These premium mouth fresheners, digestives, superfoods, and confectioneries are available in modern trade formats like Hypercity, Big Bazar, Metro Cash N Carry, etc., and made using 100% natural food colors & ingredients.

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Also in the pipeline are its plans to launch Parampara Pan, Royal Maghai Paan and Shehenshahi Paan. As Chandan Mukhwas eyes entry into more international markets, it seeks to particularly tap into 32 million NRIs and PIOs in the future. For this, the brand has come up with a multi-pronged strategy:

  1. Positioning: Good brand positioning includes truly understanding competition and then looking at competitive advantages. For this, finding providers of similar products and services to the selling country is essential.
  2. Timely delivery of goods: A brand must only enter a market it knows it can certainly deliver to. For example, the company has a major presence in the US market because they know the needs of their people and can cater the same.
  3. Adaptation: This might include changing product name, logo and/or colours to adapt to cultural differences or to avoid causing offense even by accident.
  4. Being consistent: While change is the law of nature and need of the hour, the company resolutely believes that a brand’s core identity and principles must remain consistent, so that customers know exactly what to expect when they buy a product.
  5. Packaging: Attractive packaging is crucial to marketing. Abiding by the packaging standards of the importing country and offering details like the nutritional value of the product can help in better sales of a product.
  6. Protecting yourself: A brand must file the necessary trademark and patent protections to preserve its intellectual property overseas.

The company also believes that digital marketing is an equally important tool for a brand to succeed, given the growing number of internet users in the country and the world. Therefore, in addition to its website and online storefront, it is also planning to leverage the power of popular online platforms like YouTube and Instagram.


This article is a part of TPCI’s Connect Initiative

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