The nutraceuticals industry in India is worth $2.2 billion and is expected to grow at 20 per cent to reach $6.1 billion by 2020.
The Indian consumer’s way to being fit is not just about going to a gym today, but also consulting dieticians and following a balanced diet. This shift in consumer behaviour has come as a blessing for the nutraceuticals market for India that was struggling for growth a decade ago, but is a hot market now.
The nutraceuticals industry in India is worth $2.2 billion and is expected to grow at 20 per cent to reach $6.1 billion by 2020. It consists of three segments – dietary supplements, functional foods and functional beverages. In the past few years, the market has grown wider. It has moved on from just having vitamin and mineral supplements to also including protein shakes, fat burners and much more. A major portion of this market is now functional foods and beverages that serve as meal replacements, protein supplements and more.
Pure-play brands franchising to growth
What’s making this segment a hub of opportunities is the emergence of pure-play nutraceutical brands as potential players who are not just setting shops, but are also expanding through the route of franchising and distribution. These include names like Body Building India and Flabthugs.
Body Building India is a chain of online and offline stores for fitness and nutrition. They have 11 stores spread across Delhi-NCR, Mumbai and Guwahati. Taking the route of franchising their business, they aim to have 100 stores in the next one year. In its first phase, Body Building India is focusing on micro nutrients like Multi vitamins, Glutamine, Creatine, Fat burner and Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAA).
“We work on the FOFO model - Franchisee owned and Franchisee operated. As the brand owner, we do product purchase directly from the company or authorised distributors. Having started this in an organised way, we have started working on improving our margins, hence, giving benefit to the franchisee and end customer. We work at the top level to buy 100 per cent original products and the best possible rates,” says Ankush Sabharwal, CEO, Body Building India. The brand has also signed Bollywood actor Randeep Hooda as their brand ambassador to take their nutraceuticals game one level up.
Brands such as Flabthugs too are eyeing the opportunity and are catering to this need, looking at expanding their current base. With the current three stores, Flabthugs is eyeing 10 stores and a gym. However, they feel that a lot needs to be done to change the mindset of the Indian consumer. “A majority of people we come across are skeptical. They are scared, they are not very open minded. We make them realise what the benefits of having a protein shake can be. In the US, even a 13-year-old takes protein shakes. I’m not being biased, but we are lagging behind because of lack of knowledge on these supplements. Therefore, we are not just selling products, but also our knowledge,” says Karan Punn, co-founder, Flabthugs.
Pharmas and Ayurveda
Seeing the rising demand, many major pharmaceuticals and FMCGs have taken the nutraceuticals route in the past few years. Players like GlaxoSmithKline and even Ayurveda brands like Patanjali and Baidyanath have introduced nutritional supplements like protein powders, energy bars, soya milk and much more.
The dominant ones remain GSK and Baidyanath. GSK has extended brand Horlicks to categories like biscuits and oats. “Horlicks, our largest brand, is consumed in 38 million homes in India (190 servings per second), contributing significantly to the malnutrition agenda,” as the company puts it. Baidyanath on the other hand is a 5000-year-old Ayurveda brand with popular nutraceuticals like diet supplements, anti-diabetics and much more.
With India moving towards urbanisation and busier lifestyles, the nutraceuticals market is going to see a huge jump with the rise of social media and awareness about nutritional grab and go food.