The Sunshine Sector: Preventive Healthcare & Nutrition

By: Vinay Jain, Chief Operating Officer, Onelife Nutriscience

 Vinay Jain, Chief Operating Officer, Onelife Nutriscience

There is a paradigm shift happening in consumer choices from pharmaceuticals to the nutraceuticals. The industry is witnessing a rapid growth globally. As per a study conducted jointly by Assocham & RNCOS, in 2017, the Indian market was estimated at $4 billion and is expected to reach $9 billion by 2022 increasing at a CAGR of 21 percent. India held only two percent market share of the global nutraceuticals market in 2017 and is expected to hold at least 3.5 percent market share of the global market by 2023 which is expected to be over $300 billion. In per capita expenditure on nutraceuticals, India is way behind than its global counterparts.

It is just $2.5 compared to the global average of $21. In the nutraceutical market in India, vitamins & minerals are the popular one & comprises 40 percent share followed by herbals at 30 percent and Protein at 25 percent. Today Indian market has over 400 participants with over 100 participants only in the vitamins & minerals space. With global markets getting saturated, many global players are turning eyes on developing markets and India is seen as one of the most potential opportunities in nutraceutical consumption.

Importance, Awareness & Trends

Poor eating habits, busy & sedentary lifestyle & hereditary issues have made us vulnerable to many lifestyle related ailments. As per reports, over 80 percent Indians are deficient in protein. There is a large population including affluent urban class, is deficient in essential micronutrients. All this has led to exploration of ways to prevent diseases arising out of these deficiencies.

There were times when people were apprehensive of consuming dietary supplements and the awareness was at a very low level. But over the period with increasing health consciousness, global integration, active media in the health space & social media penetration has helped in increasing awareness. The old adage 'Prevention is better than cure' is gaining prominence due to increasing health care cost & procedural complications. Millennial consumers are preferring nutraceutical over prescription drugs to combat lifestyle and hormonal disorders. Post Covid, it has suddenly become the first priority for everyone.

There is spurt in the need to support immunity levels and consumers are opening up to the idea of loading immunity supporting micronutrients & herbs as the preferred choice. With higher e-Commerce penetration & its increasing acceptance as preferred mode of shopping, the reach of the nutraceutical products has increased many fold. Increasing GYM penetrations and high consciousness around fitness and good physique has led to increased consumption of Protein and many other nutritional products.

Consumers are preferring weight management supplements over pharmaceutical pills & medical procedures. Innovative formats like delicious gummies, chewable & effervescent tablets are gaining easy acceptance and offering benefits like better shelf life, taste, and more.

Key Challenges

Over the past many years, there have been consistent efforts by regulatory bodies like FSSAI in designing regulations and making them at par with International regulations. A comprehensive policy & regulatory document is still the need of the industry.

Absence of the same is not only deferring investment by global players but also allows many fly by night operators with dubious products and exaggerated claims. Strict implementation of regulations is another big task in the hands of govt agencies to ensure the check on unregulated practices. Indian market is also flooded with fake & counterfeit products with substandard ingredients thus ruining the reputation of the Industry. High tax structure is leading to higher prices for consumers, which is a deterrent in consumption.

Opportunities

As the per capita consumption in India is very low in comparison to global average, it throws open a big opportunity for the overall dietary supplement market to grow significantly. With increased awareness not only among urban consumers but rural counterparts too and the urge to take preventive steps to the challenge of lifestyle diseases, the concept of supplementation is getting wider acceptance & is bound to grow.

Post COVID, the market has been proliferated by many brands offering various products to cater to the increased demand. There has been spurt of various formats delivering the nutrients in tastier and more consumer preferred formats. With many Nutraceutical companies taking lead in educating consumers & digital media offering cost effective & innovative ways, dietary supplements are gaining traction among consumers. Increasing intervention by govt agencies & Industry bodies, there are significant efforts by manufacturers in delivering better quality & newer concepts.

With many Nutraceutical companies taking lead in educating consumers & digital media offering cost effective & innovative ways, dietary supplements are gaining traction among consumers

Apart from this technology will play a very important role in designing data-based AI driven personalized & effective solutions for consumers. This will help deliver better benefits and will lead to increased consumer demand. From a manufacturing perspective, Integration of technology will help in standardizing process, ingredients as well as final product quality and nutrition delivery thus putting Indian manufacturers at par with global standards.

It will also help in combating the issue of counterfeit products & ensuring higher customer satisfaction. In the current scenario and emerging trends, one can foresee a bright future for Indian nutraceutical industry. Pace of growth will be driven by sector friendly govt policies, proper regulations & guidelines, appropriate tax structures, and stringent executions of the rules. Apart from consumption, India could be a potential global hub for manufacturing nutraceuticals if appropriate tax structure & policies are implemented.

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