Nutraceuticals market in India – challenges and trends

While US, Europe and Japan currently account for over 90 percent of the total global nutraceutical market, India, China and other Southeast Asian countries are rising as new and emerging markets for nutraceuticals

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By Ajit Marathe, Co-founder & Director, Adroit Biomed

Nutraceuticals have seen a meteoric rise in popularity over the last few years in India, especially for preventive and proactive health care and disease management. It is not a surprise then that nutraceuticals are increasingly finding space in household cabinets, for a series of benefits, including preventive healthcare, health management, skin and hair, beauty and holistic health and wellness. According to the Assocham Knowledge report 2018, the Indian nutraceuticals market is expected to grow from $4 billion in 2017 to $18 billion in 2025, representing a growth of 21 percent CAGR.

Some key driver for growth of nutraceuticals in India, include:

  1. Awareness: Rapid digitization and increase in social media usage have increased awareness and access to vital information regarding nutrition, holistic health and wellness. Further, increasing concerns around nutrition and health have led to the popularity of Nutraceuticals as vital supplements for gaining wellness and maintaining good health

  2. Increase in Lifestyle diseases: Thanks to the stressors of the 21st century urban lifestyle, an increasingly large number of people are facing diseases like diabetes, hypertension etc., which demand a disciplined and long term disease management program. This has led to people reaching out for alternative supplements which can enhance wellness and holistic health

  3. Inferior Food Quality: Lack of timely and nutritious food has led to increased rate of malnutrition, even among the urban and affluent section of society, leading to a deficiency of micro-nutrients. These deficiencies have led to the rise in nutritional supplements, which promise to meet the daily dietary requirement and help fight the nutritional deficiencies

  4. Affordability: Increasing costs of hospitalization and complex procedures arising out of avoidable conditions, are driving consumers towards health supplements and nutraceuticals. The adage, ‘prevention is better than cure’ is now well etched into the minds of consumers. As a result, nutraceuticals are now looked upon as important supplements that are on the priority list of monthly expenses, which, like food, cannot be skipped

Key Challenges faced by Nutraceuticals segment in India include:

  • The lack of clear regulatory framework: Nutraceuticals as a segment has been a major challenge to the growth and wide spread acceptance of nutraceuticals in India.

  • Trust worthiness: There have been instances fake or counterfeit products which are unregistered and unapproved, and it has led to skepticism from consumers as well as industry trade community

Pricing: Being a preventive approach to health, pricing has been a key player for deciding the acceptance of nutraceuticals across socio-economic classes.

Future Trends:

  • Nutraceutical manufacturers and marketers are taking up the responsibility of educating the consumers by sharing detailed information about the product and its benefits and roles, while also bringing about a transparency and credibility among the consumers. This will go a long way to build a stronger category for Nutraceuticals as a health and wellness segment

  • Industry players are also undertaking a number of initiatives on their own, including a renewed focus on improved quality standards of the product, enhanced transparency, and competitive pricing for innovations.

  • Nutraceuticals in the form of capsules will gain wider popularity, given their ease of consumption and the flexibility for diverse formulation.

While US, Europe and Japan currently account for over 90 percent of the total global nutraceutical market, India, China and other Southeast Asian countries are rising as new and emerging markets for nutraceuticals. As this trend is becoming more and more pronounced, several international, well-reputed, and certified players from US, Japan, and European countries are venturing into the Indian market, ready to leverage the potential by launching their products and expanding their portfolio according to the needs of Indian consumers. Thus, apart from the forecast growth of the industry, nutraceuticals are set to become widely accepted and a common part of Indian households in the near future!


About Author: Ajit Marathe is highly motivated and experienced in providing technical insights in the area of concept and product development. He holds M. Pharm in Formulation development from UDCT, Mumbai and a PG diploma in clinical research and Intellectual Property Rights. He also holds a patent in a controlled drug delivery system. He started his career in clinical research and has worked with companies like Altana Pharma and Neeman Medical International.
After gaining experience in the field of clinical research his first entrepreneurial debut was a clinical research training institute called ICREAT. Later he started with Adroit Digital Ideas to explore the healthcare advertising industry. It was in 2009 that Adroit Biomed Limited was formed.