India Now - page 41

distinguished by their preferences. “The
age-group of 18–30 years is the largest
consumer of functional foods and bever-
ages,” observes Maheshwari, adding,
“Working professionals and students
are the largest consumers of energy
drinks in India, while the consumption
of digestive biscuits, juices and oats, has
increased among women and children.”
The distinct trends can be clubbed
under energy based drinks, digestive
health products,
and herbal
products and probiotics.
“Indian consumers are predisposed
towards herbal and ayurvedic,” says
Chechi. Chyawanprash leads the dietary
supplements category in both rural and
urban India, however, there is a spike in
demand for various other herbal supple-
ments as well. Probiotic nutraceuticals,
an emerging segment in India, has
gained traction in the past few years as
companies concentrate on awareness
campaigns to educate consumers about
their many benefits.
Healthy Market
Rising awareness among Indian con-
sumers is a major impetus to the growth
of the industry. Maheshwari enlightens,
“Indian consumers’ awareness about
conventional nutraceutical ingredients
such as omega-3 fatty acids or lutein is
limited.” However, promotional activi-
ties of the market players are essaying
an educative role, as in the case of
probiotics, and the market penetra-
tion is increasing even in rural areas.
As of now, prescription based dietary
supplements are selling more among
the lower income groups and rural con-
sumers and TechSci Research points to
the untapped opportunities for players
in addressing this gap. The per capita
spending on nutraceutical products in
India is much lower than the global
average and it indicates the market is
According to a recent survey, there
are more than 8,000 registered and
non-registered nutraceuticals, herbs
and related companies in India, mostly
small and medium enterprises. Though
the government does not allow foreign
direct investment (FDI) in the sector,
the industry has benefited from foreign
investments in the pharmaceutical
market, as a majority of the Indian
nutraceuticals market is dominated by
pharma companies. According to Che-
chi, some key trends that are expected
to positively shape up the market in the
coming years are food fortification and
encapsulation. Food fortification offers
a solution against diseases caused by
nutrient deficiency that can be rectified
to an extent with the consumption of
nutraceuticals. Encapsulation involves
incorporation of food ingredients into
capsules, so that consumers are able to
easily distinguish between pharmaceuti-
cals and supplements.
As the Indian consumer market
for nutraceuticals evolves, there is an
increasing need for product innovation
to tap into emerging segments with
differentiated and tailored offerings.
Product developments must be backed
by academic and scientific research,
for consumers now actively seek such
testimonials. There is also a pertinent
need to make the products more palat-
able. Food manufacturers are already
working on these areas. Smart packag-
ing and advanced technology and ongo-
ing research by food scientists have
been rigorously adopted. Products with
ingredients such as soy proteins; oat
bran, psyllium, and soy fibres; Bifido-
bacterium and Lactobacillus probiotics;
omega fatty acids; cranberry and garlic
extracts; calcium, magnesium and zinc
minerals and vitamins A and C, are find-
ing increasing acceptance as their ben-
efits are supported by clinical research.
Reportlinker forecasts these ingredients
as the maximum growth areas in the
nutraceuticals portfolio going forward.
Several global FMCG, pharmaceu-
tical and direct selling players with
expertise in the area have entered the
nutraceuticals market or are expanding
their footprints with widening prod-
uct portfolios. These include popular
names like Amway, DuPont, BioCorrex,
Monsanto, Abbott Laboratories, among
others. Domestic players, with their
better understanding of Indian palate,
are also growing fast. With increasing
health awareness, and the shift towards
preventative health care and increased
regulatory clarity, India’s future in nutra-
ceuticals industry looks promising, for
both manufacturers and consumers.
(Based on interviews and secondary
“The age group of
18–30 years is the
largest consumer of
functional foods...”
Shushmul Maheshwari
India - Nutraceuticals Market
(US$ billion), 2014 & 2020
Source: RNCOS
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