The world has started seeing India as one of the greatest powers, which is one of the largest economies with high purchasing power among developing countries. Per capita income of people has increased in the last decade, which is the main reason for better life standards. The increasing number of people living with unhealthy lifestyles, food habits, lack of physical activities, increased levels of stress and the number of people employed in sitting jobs have increased the incidence of lifestyle-related diseases. These diseases are neither transmitted by infection nor genetically; they are called life-style diseases. Due to insomnia (sleeping disorder), junk food intake and the increasing trend of gadgets, cases of lifestyle-related diseases are increasing day by day. Nowadays, not only young people, but also children are under threat of these diseases. For example, intake of fast food and packaged foods plays an important role in the nutrient deficiency in the incidence of life-style diseases like obesity in India, whereas constant use of computers, TVs and mobiles triggered cases related to eye problems. Although such diseases can be avoided by disciplined lifestyle, but today the Indian consumers, especially the high socioeconomic class and upper middle class people are moving towards greater use of nutraceutical products and functional foods to achieve balanced nutrition. Young people are interested in energy-enhancing products in the wake of pressure of busy life and high performance. In today’s era, the person wants to be more active with better physical ability and mental stability.
Although the US, Europe and Japan are more than ninety percent of the total global nutraceutical market, and these are the market where new products are welcomed with open heart. India, China and other Southeast Asian countries are new and emerging market for nutrients business. It can be easily noticed that with the changing market trends, most multinational and local pharmaceutical companies have started launching their products in India and expanded their portfolio according to the needs of Indian consumers. FMCG manufacturers are not lagging behind in launching nutraceutical products. Today India has also become a major center for export of nutraceuticals.
Although nutraceuticals are generally considered as a class of food items, their regulatory classification may vary country to country. Nutraceuticals can be classified as dietary supplements (which include vitamins and minerals), functional foods and drinks (eg. energy and sports drinks, probiotics and herbal elixirs etc.). According to the report of Assocham Knowledge, the Indian nutraceuticals market is expected to grow to $ 18 billion by 2025. In India, nutraceuticals are controlled by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI). This regulatory body has been created for laying down science based standards for articles of food and to regulate their manufacture, storage, distribution, sale and import to ensure availability of safe and wholesome food for human consumption.
Dietary supplements hold the largest share in the Indian market, whereas functional foods and beverages are relatively small sections. Dietary supplements are mainly manufactured by pharmaceutical companies, but nowadays companies having portfolio of nutraceutical products only have also become part of the market. FMCG companies have started entering the market with different portfolio of functional foods and beverages and their fortified foods market is also growing at a fast pace. MNCs such as DSM, BASF and Merck are market leader in nutrition products, vitamin and minerals; Nestle and Kellogg’s are also have major share in nutrition business. Danisco and Yakult are major producers of probiotics. Selection of product portfolio according to the requirement and interest of various cultural groups in India may be more beneficial for manufacturers. For example, providing omega-3 fatty acids from a vegetarian source for vegetarians can be a new and bigger market. India is known as a country of youth, so a large market can be created by supplying nutraceuticals in various flavours and types keeping interest of young generation in the mind. Indian consumers easily accept products made with natural ingredients because they are part of their regular diet. Nutraceutical companies such as Dabur, Himalayas, Patanjali etc. along with Indian pharmaceutical companies are creating the market for the future. Nutraceuticals seems to be a gowning business with great potential if tapped properly.
– Dr. Roopesh Jain