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Key trends shaping the nutraceuticals industry in India

India’s nutraceutical industry is well poised to become a multi-billion market within the next decade across a diversified range of sub-categories. Let's take a look at the following trends that are likely to shape the future of India’s nutraceuticals market.

Key trends shaping the nutraceuticals industry in India

Thursday November 17, 2022 , 5 min Read

Among its many effects, the impact of the pandemic on human behaviour and habits would easily count in the top bracket. More specifically, on health and personal wellbeing. This also came at a time when a sedentary lifestyle and work-life imbalance started taking a toll on people’s physical and mental wellness. So, while we have witnessed a fitness revolution of sorts in recent years, the pandemic accelerated the momentum manifold in getting consumers to adopt a healthier lifestyle.


With a large and fast-growing consumer base, India’s nutraceutical industry is well poised to become a multi-billion market within the next decade across a diversified range of sub-categories, including dietary and nutritional supplements, sports nutrition, as well as functional and fortified foods and beverages. And the following trends are likely to shape the future of India’s nutraceuticals market.


1. Consumers are taking control of their own health: The pandemic came as a wake-up call for many as far as health is concerned. And in a little over two years since, the general understanding and perceptions of well-being have evolved significantly. What started as preventive healthcare and measures to improve immunity has transformed into a holistic approach to self-improvement with nutrition as a vital element. And as awareness grows and healthy habits become deeply ingrained, consumers are beginning to take control of their health.


2. The age of personalised nutrition: Fuelled by advances in medical sciences and consumerisation of diagnostic technologies, nutraceuticals are becoming an integral part of treatment for specific issues as well as holistic health and wellness.


For instance, consumers can now access genomic tests that make their detailed health profiles available without much effort, opening up several new use cases for nutraceutical companies. Combined with the use of digital technology and the emergence of ecommerce and direct-to-consumer models, consumers are entering the age of unprecedented access to high-quality and effective nutrition and supplements made to suit their needs.


3. Evolving consumer preference for clean and alternative nutrition: There’s a growing demand from consumers for clean nutrition–transparency in knowing what exactly goes into a product they consume. While elite athletes need to be aware of this due to strict anti-doping norms, regular individuals may do it due to dietary preferences–vegan or vegetarian, or due to a preference for natural (organic) products over drug-based or chemically processed nutrients. This makes it imperative for the nutraceutical industry to respond to evolving consumer preferences by investing in R&D and innovation to find viable alternatives. For instance, cellulose-based options for gelatin capsules, liquid capsules or plant-based alternatives for protein.

flaxseed oil

Image source: Shutterstock

4. Deepening and widening of product categories: As the field of nutrition evolves, we are seeing the emergence of therapy areas (like pharmaceuticals) in the nutraceuticals industry that focus on specific areas of wellness and nutrition. This has led to specialised segmentation in the market and a deepening and widening of product categories. So today, we have a diverse range of supplements for focused applications, including innovative products in traditional areas of health and emerging fields of cognitive wellness. For example, flaxseed oil for cholesterol, coconut oil for liver-related health issues, chamomile for anxiety and sleep, or caffeine as a brain stimulant.


5. Advances in ingredient research and applications: Many active ingredients that go into supplements are botanical extracts, which are often difficult to harness, unstable, or contain elements that need to be processed for safe consumption. New methods of extraction have enabled applications that were not viable earlier. For example, CBD extracted from cannabis has medicinal properties but cannot be used as-is due to the psychoactive THC components. But now, advances in chemical engineering allow THC to be isolated; as a result, we can now have CBD extracts with less than 0.3% concentration of THC, which, according to FDA norms, makes it a non-controlled substance. Such and other innovative extraction techniques could help expand the availability of new botanical compounds and increase the production of specific compounds for use as nutraceutical ingredients.


6. Convenience of consumption driving innovations in delivery formats: Owing to heightened awareness and exposure to more evolved markets, we are witnessing the rise of a new subset of nutraceutical consumers in India. The health-conscious, busy, and always-on-the go consumer who needs nutraceuticals in a convenient format that can be integrated with their daily routine and allows them to follow their wellness regime wherever they are. This is fuelling innovation in the Indian nutraceutical market and the adoption of products like gummies, chewables, dissolving strips, and powdered drink mixes that are like regular food or beverages but also meet their nutritional needs.


7. Consumer Experience has become a priority: There has been a shift in the traditional approach, from selling a product to selling an experience. The consumer has multiple choices but what fuels the growth of nutraceutical industry is when they help the consumers understand what they are ingesting. The consumer today is aware and expects well-done encasing, with an information read-on about the product and what technology went into bringing the product together to them.


While these trends point the industry in the right direction, it is also heartening to see government and regulatory support in the form of policies like the recently implemented FSS (Nutra) Regulations, 2022. In addition to overhauling the earlier regulations applicable to the nutraceutical industry, the new regulations expand the scope of delivery formats and ingredients and provide a lot of clarity and guidelines that will fuel innovation and benefit the industry and consumers at the end of the day.

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)