Trends in the Nutraceutical Market
By Sushil Khaitan, CEO & Director, Purenutrition.me
Indian society is witnessing the rise of various kinds of fitness options across the country, alongside the growth of the nutraceutical market – which has now emerged as an important player in this evolving health-focused ecosystem. To a great extent, this demand can be attributed to the rise of non-communicable diseases like cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and PCOS. Coupled with a rapidly aging population and a growing desire to enjoy post-retirement years, Indians are looking for new, but natural ways to promote and prolong their health.
Current Trends In The Nutraceutical Segment –
Let’s highlight some of the current trends in the industry responsible for this dramatically propelling this growth.
- Consumer Consciousness
India has been changing rapidly in every aspect and as we all know, there is growing awareness about the importance of holistic health care that focuses on disease prevention, rather than treatment. In addition, rapid digitization has itself expanded and opened up new markets for the sector, even in Tier II and Tier III cities.
Despite the fact that nutrition is a relatively new segment within health care, growth has begun to accelerate in recent years primarily due to higher levels of awareness among consumers about the impact of lifestyle and diet on health. As a result, consumers have become more appreciative of the importance of nutrition in both the prevention and treatment of diseases. In addition, health publications and fitness icons have helped increase the understanding and appeal of natural health focused products.
- Rise In Disposable Income
Until fairly recently, nutraceutical products, including supplements and functional foods, were mainly purchased by those in higher income groups, a pattern that we are seeing a drastic change in because of rising disposable income and greater purchasing power. Higher spending power has also prompted Indians to pay more attention to health, with a focus on nutrition as preventive.
- Rise In Co-prescription Of Nutraceuticals
Nutraceuticals were long regarded as purely optional by most doctors, which worked as a barrier to the nutraceutical market’s growth. With increased research into food science and nutrition in recent years, there has been a remarkable change in perceptions within the medical community. Most doctors now acknowledge the role of nutrition in quality medical care, with a focus not just on cures, but also on prevention. Aside from dietitians and nutritionists, general physicians and other specialists also frequently prescribe nutraceutical products and supplements, where they are seen to be beneficial.
- Future Trends In The Nutraceutical Segment
With new players entering the market and rapid innovation within the nutraceutical industry, this is actually one of the most exciting times to be part of the industry. Many of the emerging trends in India will also help resolve the challenges that we have faced in the past, further promoting growth of the sector.
- The Evolving Regulatory Framework
Given that more than half of the dietary supplements in India today are fake/illegal, the FSSAI’s introduction of new regulations should get to the root of this problem – which is the lack of consistent regulation and standardization of nutraceutical products.
These new regulations will allow us to operate within a well defined framework. The new framework will prescribe clear standards and well-defined product categories eliminating the current ambiguity. These regulations will also give manufacturers much more clarity in terms of permissible ingredients in nutraceutical products and labeling.
- Market Expansion
In the past, urban India, or more precisely the metros, were the only markets for nutracetutical sales, but consumption patterns have shown a dramatic shift, with a steady increase in demand from Tier II and Tier III cities. This does give us cause for optimism, as we believe that this trend will only gather momentum, especially because of the large-scale digitization of India. With greater internet penetration across the country, awareness about lifestyle diseases and nutritional deficiencies has been increasing not just in the metros, but throughout India.
Digitization has also improved access to nutraceutical products, with consumers in Tier III cities having the same wide range of choice as do urbanites in metros. Purchasing products from reputed online retailers or directly from manufacturers also increases consumer confidence in product quality, while cost benefits to sellers are also passed on to consumers. E-commerce growth is in fact a game changer for the nutraceutical industry, as the health care segment has already seen remarkable growth over the past five years.