Sushil Khaitan CEO & Director, Purenutrition.me
When nutraceuticals first arrived in India, most manufacturers were skeptical about the scope for sales, but consumers were quick to adopt the trend. The Indian nutraceutical industry is still in its nascent stages, accounting for just 2% of the global market share, but current trends point towards great prospects in the near future. Back in 2015, the market was valued at $ 2.8 billion, but it estimated to have already reached around $ 4.2 billion this year. With our huge markets opening up further and other encouraging developments, the nutraceutical market value should hit the $ 10 billion mark in just three years.
DEMAND DRIVEN INNOVATION IN THE NUTRACEUTICAL MARKET
Social changes have always been a driving force for innovation and advances, and that certainly holds true for nutraceuticals. Increasing public awareness and rising costs of health care have pushed consumers to explore alternative therapies for treatment. Most importantly, there has been a shift in popular perceptions of health and wellness, underscored by preventive care. At the same time, consumers also want convenience. For this reason, we will be launching a line of new products in sachet form, aimed at increasing intake of specific vitamins, which most Indians tend to be deficient in because of our vegetarian diet – this includes vitamins B12 and D3. Another product in the functional food space will contain CLA to help fight belly fat, which is one of the most pervasive problems today, thanks to our sedentary lifestyle and diets. In addition, consumers can also expect new products like bio chlorophyll (concentrated wheat grass), which can help fight inflammatory conditions, and collagen sachets, which helps not just with skin health, but also the joints. One area that is of particular interest to us is cancer research and we are working on products to address both physiological and cosmetic concerns that are common to cancer patients. We are also closely following developments in the use of medical marijuana or cannabis extract in nutraceuticals, but this is not on the table for our Indian market right now.
GROWTH DRIVERS FOR THE NUTRACEUTICAL MARKET IN INDIA
As we have already established, India’s nutraceutical market share has already doubled since 2015 and I am fairly confident that it will double or more than double yet again, within three years. But, what is really propelling this growth?
In the past, nutraceutical products like supplements and functional foods were primarily purchased by higher socio-economic groups, but this trend is changing quickly thanks to rising disposable income and higher purchasing power. At the same time, there has also been an increase in levels of awareness among consumers about the impact of lifestyle and diet on health. Consumers have therefore begun to appreciate the role of nutrition in preventing and dealing with ailments. Additionally, awareness and appeal of natural health focused products has also grown multi-fold and most consumers see the cost benefits on spending now to prevent future ailments.
INCREASED CO-PRESCRIPTION WITH CONVENTIONAL DRUGS
Although the perception of nutraceuticals as an optional component by doctors limits the scope of nutraceuticals, this viewpoint has been undergoing a steady shift. As more research throws light on the role of diet and nutrition in disease prevention and treatment, the medical fraternity has embraced the use of nutraceuticals, including functional foods, such as for patients on liquid diets or with meal replacements.
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